I need to translate the interface of our software into English, but I'm not sure how to deal with grammar. Should some auxiliary verbs, articles be omitted for the sake of brevity like in the following examples:

  • Account type {x} not found (or was not found/has not been found)
  • Notification accepted (Notification has been accepted/was accepted/or even THE before "notification".

Where can I read about the standards set for such types of writing? I have read about technical writing style on wikiversity, and it says that one should avoid passive voice, lengthy sentences etc. Still not sure about omitting auxiliary verbs and articles. Thank you.


Google has a section on writing in their Material Design guidelines: https://material.io/guidelines/style/writing.html#writing-tone .

In the section "Write simply and directly", they recommend using "Message sent" over "Message has been sent". They also use "Remove photo" as an example of good UI copy. So while they don't expressly say it, they do recommend omitting both auxiliary verbs and articles.

Certain UI text has evolved to use its own kind of grammar for things that need to be short (buttons, labels, etc.), just like "headlinese". There isn't a strictly defined grammar guide out there, but you won't do wrong by following common practices.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.