American English Translation

Whether you are looking for an American English translation for something technical, legal or medical, or simply a letter, we can help you.

Planet Veritas is well known for its quality-driven American English translation services. We will equip you with knowledge and methods, enabling you to communicate in the correct written form of American English, whether you are targeting New York or Chicago, we can help.

The need for American English translation services is growing by the day. Even though many American terms are easy to understand, when you are trying to sell a service or a product in America – there is a very different way of communicating than in the UK. Understanding the differences would actually help you to win business!

We offer a professional a American English language translation service, amongst others. Here is some information which you will find useful as the American English language is full of interesting facts and essential tips when  you are looking to communicate effectively in the United States of America.

Location: North America
Population: 320 million
Language Family: Germanic
Related Languages: German, Dutch, Swedish
Number of Global Speakers: 225 million as a native language, 25 million L2 speakers

About American English

The United States is the world’s largest and most competitive economy. With a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of nearly 7 trillion dollars, minimal language barriers and a similar business culture to that of the UK, the United States represents a multitude of business opportunities for British businesses. In 2012, UK trade in goods and services to the US totalled £135 billion, and around 17% of all British exports went to the US. The new Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP), a trade and investment deal that is currently being negotiated with the EU, should make this economic powerhouse even easier to do business with by lowering tariffs and making regulations more similar to those of the EU.

Due to the fact that countries all over the world are constantly looking to export to the United States means that translation and interpreting services are constantly needed into and out of American English. Legal documents, business contracts, medical and health certificates and a huge variety of other documents need to be translated each day by professional translators and skilled interpreters are required to attend a multitude business meetings and conferences in a wide variety of business sectors to facilitate understanding and good business relationships.

The American English translation and interpreting industry is not only kept booming by the vast amounts of trade conducted between the United States and countries across the globe. A wide and colourful variety of languages and cultures exist in the United States as a result of immigration. The United States New Census Bureau estimates that as of 2014, there are now over 54 million people of Hispanic origin residing in the USA, meaning that language services for the American English – Latin American Spanish language pair are constantly in demand. From public service interpreters booked for court, police or medical settings to translators needed for the translation of Informed Consent forms for clinical trials, this language pair has become a huge growth market in the translation industry.

American English Spelling

The most visible differences between British and American English occur on the level of spelling. There are many words in American English that are pronounced the same and mean the same thing as their British English counterparts, but with slight variations, for example:

  • Center (AmE) vs centre (BrE), as well as theater vs theatre, etc.
  • Favor (AmE) vs favour (BrE), as well as honor vs honour, etc.
  • Recognize (AmE) vs recognise (BrE), as well as harmonize vs harmonise, etc.
  • Dialog (AmE) vs dialogue (BrE), as well as analog vs analogue, etc.
  • Traveled (AmE) vs Travelled (BrE), as well as marvelous vs marvellous, etc.
  • Fetus (AmE) vs foetus (BrE), as well as hemorrhage (AmE) vs haemorrhage, etc.
  • Mold (AmE) vs mould (BrE), as well as smolder vs smoulder,e tc.

And some odd ones:

  • Sulfur (AmE) vs sulphur (BrE)
  • Aluminum (AmE) vs aluminium (BrE)
  • Check (AmE) vs cheque (BrE)
  • Progra(AmE) vs programme (BrE)
American English Grammar

As well as the many different spellings that exist between American and British English, there are slight variations on how sentences are constructed that are very noticeable to native speakers if done using the “wrong” dialect.

  • The past tense of the verb “to get” in American English is “gotten”, whereas in British English it is “got”:
    • He’s gotten so much better at English lately (AmE)
    • He’s got so much better at English lately (BrE)

 

  • When using the present perfect to ask questions, the auxiliary “have” in British English can change to “did” in American English:
    • Did you do it yet? (AmE)
    • Have you done it yet? (BrE)

 

  • Sometimes, the auxiliary “have” will be taken out altogether in the present perfect in American English:
    • I just saw a great movie (AmE)
    • I’ve just seen a great film (BrE)

 

  • Some past participles in American English are regular, whereas in British English they use an irregular form:
    • That trashcan smelled so bad earlier (AmE)
    • That bin smelt so bad earlier (BrE)
      • This is the same for spelled/spelt, learned/learnt, dreamed/dreamt etc.
Vocabulary Divergences

 

American English British English
elevator lift
sneakers trainers
diaper nappy
bathing suit swimming costume
vacation holiday
recess play time
sidewalk pavement
cookie biscuit
broil grill
trunk bonnet
faucet tap
Band-Aid plaster

 

This is just a small snapshot of some of the many differences between written British and American English. Only a native speaker of American English could successfully translate a document using the specific vocabulary, syntactical style and spelling required. A common service that we offer here at Planet Veritas is localising your British English documents into American English to ensure that it reads naturally and makes sense to a native speaker. It may seem unnecessary to have an English document localised into a different type of English, but they are so different that you could potentially cause lots of confusion and provide a text that is unappealing and difficult to read for your target audience. The two countries are also extremely different on a cultural level, and what works in one country may not work in another.

For example, for a car instruction manual, your US customers would get thoroughly confused if you kept on referring to the bonnet and boot instead of hood and trunk!

Or if you were advertising your lovely British knitted jumpers, you might not get a great response unless you referred to them as sweaters!

American English Dialects

It is worth noting that the United States of America is an absolutely massive country (you could fit the UK into the US about 40 times over, and the dialectical range of that tiny island is absolutely astonishing). There are a huge range of different dialects and accents that are too extensive to list here in their entirety. The United States is mostly populated with immigrants or descendants of immigrants, which has turned the country into a rich melting pot of cultural diversity. Many dialects in the USA have therefore been influenced by different languages (for example Hispanic and Cajun influences).

Robert Delaney of Long Island University put together a US dialectical map that distinguishes 24 different regions of American English:

Just some of the regions that Delaney distinguishes include:

Rocky Mountain, with heavy influences from frontier settlers and Native American languages

Gulf Southern, with influences from both English settlers from southern colonies and French settlers in Louisiana

Upper Midwestern, which has some Scandinavian influences

Pacific Southwest, which uses vocabulary taken from settlers who came to pan gold (“pan out” and “pay dirt” are among the expressions coming from that history)

Inland Northern, where doughnuts are called friedcakes!

Coastal Southern, which has inherited vocabulary from colonial times

Gullah, a Creole mix combining English with West African languages brought over with slaves in the 1700s and 1800s.

Louisiana, with heavy influences from French settlers – subdialects include Cajun French and Cajun English

Get in touch!

Due to its cultural complexity, vast range of dialects and many differences from British English and other English dialects, it is of paramount importance that you source a native speaker of American English for your translation and interpreting projects, as this can really have an impact on how you are perceived by your target audience.

Planet Veritas have a network of 5,500 translators in countries across the globe and can source the perfect American English translator or interpreter to suit your project, whatever it is and whatever its length. We only use in-country translators, ensuring that they are up to date with the most recent vocabulary and terminology. Call us today and speak to one of our experienced Project Managers, who will be only too happy to provide you with more information.

TUI TRAVEL GROUP

Ian Chapman – Director of Holiday Experience –

“Planet Veritas provides instant multi-lingual options for TUI’s 24/7 Holidayline, so 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year TUI’s customers are connected to an interpreter instantaneously. This service is designed to help holidaymakers who find themselves in difficulty and require non-English language assistance.

The service offered by Planet Veritas provides us with instant translation for every destination we travel to, and has proved invaluable.”

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