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English Translation Style Guide for EU – Writing English – GENERAL


Language usage. The language used should be understandable to speakers of British English (defined in the introduction to this Guide as the standard usage of Britain and Ireland). As a general rule, British English should be preferred, and Americanisms that are liable not to be understood by speakers of British English should be avoided. However, bearing in mind that a considerable proportion of the target readership may be made up of non-native speakers, very colloquial British usage should also be avoided.

Quoting text. When directly quoting a piece of text or citing the title of a document, you should reproduce the original rather than following the conventions set out below. However, you should make it clear you are quoting text by putting it in quotation marks or italics or setting it off in some other way. If necessary, you may mark errors with ‘[sic]’ or insert missing text in square brackets.

Source: European Commission Directorate-General for Translation

A handbook for authors and translators in the European Commission

Seventh edition: August 2011 Last updated: May 2014


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