I'm a native speaker of British English, and I often write documentation and copy for an international audience. I understand the differences between British and American English enough to "translate" a document for consumption by Americans. There's no slang or local cultural references, so it's just a question of removing the u's and changing the odd word (boot to trunk, and so on).

How can I do the same for Australian readers? Should I start from the British or American version of the source? Are there even more word replacements for me to consider? (Don't try to list them here; I just want to know the scale of the problem.)

I've seen that there is a similar question for Canadian English.


I would start from British English rather than American English since British English and Australian English have more in common than British English and American English, in my opinion.

I know you didn't ask for a list but it sounds like you rely on a list for American, so the same would apply for Australian. I'd imagine the scale is smaller due to the colonisation dates and population differences.

As well as the similarities between Australian and British, I would favour the British-Australian route since Britain is the radix of both flavours. Going down the American English to Australian English route would be like expecting to pick a raisin from a grape vine.

Mumpsimus, sumpsimus?

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If there are, as you say, "no slang or local cultural references", then there's almost no translation required from British English to Australian English. The differences between these two varieties are mostly in the slang and colloquialisms and culture. When it comes to spelling and punctuation and the basic usages of words, the differences between British English and Australian English are so small as to be unnoticeable.

It might help to see some examples of the passages you think might need translating, to see if there are any actual problems, but I think you wouldn't need any translation at all.

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  • As an Australian I agree with this answer. Although we are now much more influenced by American culture than British, this mostly affects our speech, not our spelling, which remains almost identical to British spelling. The few small differences (a slight preference for gaol over jail, etc.) can easily be ignored without being as jarring as American spelling. – CJ Dennis Aug 5 '18 at 3:12

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