Monday, 6 August 2012

Replace all

I've just finished reading the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. It was all right, not great literature but a fun enough read. Odd typos in the last book though.

One thing was that there very often lacked a space between sentences. I have no explanation for that. Another thing was three misspellings, all related. The first was evapourate. The second was elabourate. The third was labouratory. In each case, the error is an extra u where there shouldn't be one. Can you see why?

My guess is that someone has looked for all the US spellings vapor and labor and changed them to their UK counterparts vapour and labour, and not taken the trouble to check that all instances were true instances of those words, instead just using the 'replace all' tool. Use with care, people.

I don't know why they bothered to do that in the first place, mind. Books don't normally UK-ify themselves. The books are not set in America, just some unspecified place in our future, so perhaps at some point someone thought that UK spellings would be a nice touch. There was a lot of other US-ness in the language though, so they didn't do that thorough a job.


  1. Whether books are changed for the transatlantic market depends on the books. Nobody would think of rewriting The Lord of the Rings in American, but Harry Potter was, even to the length of changing one of the titles.

    1. Huh, interesting. When books are set in some other time/world/universe it wouldn't seem necessary, as in LOTR. But I'd have thought that Harry Potter was sufficiently 'British' to be kept that way, although of course there's absolutely no reason why it has to be.

      I've also seen some comment that the dialogue in '50 shades of grey' has a lot of Britishisms in it, although I'm not keen enough to read it to find out. The ones I've seen described are very subtle ones, that you might not realise were Britishisms (I didn't). Things like 'at college' rather than 'in', 'grill', 'I've not' instead of 'I haven't', 'acclimatise', etc.