Different types of English

We all know the English language is pretty complicated. Pronunciation and tenses make it a confusing language to understand - just look at the many poems about it. Or read a sentence like “all the faith he had had had had no effect on the outcome” and realize it makes sense even though word “had” appears four times in a row. That’s just crazy!

Can I tell you something even crazier? English is different in different countries. No, not different enough that you wouldn’t be able to have a conversation, but you might have a little trouble with some words or sentences.

Imagine you’re in Australia, and a local says “Will you hold my carrybag while I stop at the chemist shop? I got a bad mozzy bite bushwalking and need to get in queue.” Your response might be something like, “…huh?” Just so you know, this person is asking you to hold their tote bag while they go to the drugstore. They got a mosquito bite while hiking and need to get in line.

This might not happen very often on your vacation or business trip “down under,” but if you are trying to reach a local audience in Australia, Canada, UK, US, or another English speaking country with its own slang and dialect, it’s important to know the lingo.

Here are just a few examples of some differences you might come across:

An “apartment” in the US is sometimes called a “flat” in the UK, or a “unit” in Australia.

“Fries” in the US are “chips” in the UK, and “Chips” in the US are “Crisps” in the UK.

“Sneakers” in the US are called “runners” in Ireland, “trainers” in UK, and “joggers” or “gym boots” in Australia”

Australians say “arvo” when they are talking about the time after noon.

A baby’s “diaper” in America is the same as a “nappie” in the UK or Australia.

At an American fair or carnival, you’ll find “cotton candy” in pink and blue, but in Australia it will be called “fairy floss” and in Britain, “candy floss.”

“Cling film” is used in the UK to cover foods, while in the US it’s called “saran wrap” or “plastic wrap.” In Australia they refer to it by the long-time brand name “Glad wrap.”

When you’re walking along the street, make sure to say on the “sidewalk” (US), “pavement” (UK) or “footpath” (Aus).

These examples might not mean much to you now, but make sure you check out the differences before you send your content overseas. Here at Lionbridge onDemand, we have professional in country translators for all of your language needs. If that means translating from US English to Australian English, we’ve got your back.  Check it out, here.