The Guardian looks back on a year translating English to English

The Guardian

The Guardian launched its "English to English" Tumblr nearly a year ago, and Katie Rogers says its staff has learned a few things about navigating the language divide in a transatlantic newsroom.

The first is that any serious cultural or linguistic differences we may have are best solved by poking a healthy bit of fun at each other. The second is that a lot can change in a year. The formerly endless comment streams debating whether or not two forms of spellings can appear on one website have certainly abated, which allows readers to get away from our differences to better discuss the story at hand.

Last year Guardian readers editor Chris Elliott wrote about "the apparently relentless march of phrases from the other side of the pond." Elliott said his office is "no longer able to keep statistics about the kind of issues raised, because the volume of complaints and queries has grown in tandem with the Guardian's online readership."

Reached by email, Rogers said she and "English to English" co-creator Erin McCann want to do more with the project.

It's allowed the Guardian US to establish a large, engaged community on Tumblr, but it has also allowed us to meet some of our readers in person. We hosted a meetup in New York last fall and we're planning another one this spring. Aside from expanding plans to do more work with the community we already have, we want to look for more opportunities to tie more of our 'translations' and features into traditional Guardian coverage on-site. The style guide post is one example of this, but we think topics like food, sport and television have serious potential.

"We're pleased that our colleagues in London in Australia are also fans, and we're hoping to balance out American voices with more global writers," McCann wrote in an email.

Of course they brought a picnic. (Wallace and Gromit GIF via filmic LIFE)
  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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