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November 4, 2020 Transcription Services

British-english Vs. American-english: What’s the Difference?

We often speak with a variety of people with many different backgrounds. When selecting a transcription firm, the localization of language, including English, is important. British and American English can be quite different and selecting a transcription team that navigates this properly helps your team, your transcripts and everyone involved.

British-English vs. American-English: What’s the difference? – Common Misspelled Words

Po-tay-toh, Pa-tat-oh, right? Wrong! The nuances of the English language have always been tricky for non-native speakers but when you throw in accents from different English-speaking countries and regional spellings, your head can spin.

Here are a few key ways the British-English and American-English language vary:

  • Spelling: If you’re an American-English speaker, chances are you’ve noticed that spelling varies if you are across the pond. Consider this, humour vs. humor. Same word, right? The difference is that in British-English spellings where there is an “our” in American English, we drop the “u”. This isn’t the only weird thing. If a word ends in “re” in British-English, we flip it in American– centre vs. center. One word that gets transcribers constantly is “organize”. While this is the American-English spelling, in Britain it would be “organise.”.
  • Vocabulary: Spelling is one thing, but when you are unfamiliar with a language, you may find yourself shocked when someone says one thing, but it means something completely different than you thought. For example, think of the meal “fish and chips”. While in the U.S., chips refers to fried potatoes in a crunchy snack form, in the U.K. chips are what we would consider French fries. Because of anomalies like this, it is important for the human transcriber to use context clues to know what the speaker is referring to.
  • Grammar: Have you ever considered how proper a British accent sounds? It’s no wonder people make a career out of being voice impersonators–those Brits sure have a way with words. While the accent is part of it, their grammar is actually an even bigger factor. From prepositions, action, and present tense, these all make a difference in how we understand and follow a sentence from a speaker.

This is a lot to consider when transcribing your market research. But an AI transcriber can do it, right? Probably not. Because we rely on context clues and the general understanding of where people are from, many of these English-nuances would be lost to a robotic or computer-based application that transcribes for you.

But that doesn’t mean you should limit participation in your research. We have just the thing you need.

Human Transcription by FFTranscription, Finding the Differences in British and American English

Since 2003, FFTranscription has been handling the transcription needs of thousands of businesses across the United States. With over 25 million minutes successfully transcribed for our happy clients, you too can reap the benefits of using transcription services. Contact us today and let us worry about the details so you can Focus Forward!