I often have to remind people I converse with via email and chat forums, or perhaps those who write articles that are meant to be read widely, that we are in the WORLD Wide Web and not the Country Wide Web. In fact, I’ve kind of made it my personal quest so I hope in reading this it prompts you too, to think about this.
What do I mean by that? Writers frequently forget that readers may be in a different country when they refer to a number of things such as currency, dates, temperatures, acronyms, and so on. I’ve even discovered this in a lot of business books written in just the past few years. It is worth reading through what you’ve written, if intended to be read by people outside of your country and then add in the missing bits (and if you belong to a chat forum or are posting something on the web, or publishing a book, then it’s worth remembering it is being posted and published for ALL to read and see).
For example, if talking currency such as $20 remember to add USD, AUD, or whatever. If talking dates remember that not all countries read it as 12/31/05 but as 31/12/05. So why not write it instead as 31st December or December 31st 2005? I know there are a lot of non-English speaking/writing countries, but this will at least help the English reading audience. Temperatures are in Farenheit in some countries and Celsius in others. So the difference between 40F and 40C is quite considerable and can conjour up vastly different images when reading an article or story. We’ve recently had over 40C heat here in Melbourne, Australia (104F) whereas I know that just outside of Chicago, US it had been 40F (4.4C).
For more articles along this line why not read, ‘Remember, It’s the WORLD WIDE Web’ by Marcia Yudkin which I published in my ezine in August 2003 and my follow up article in September 2003. They make for interesting and thought-provoking reading! I’m sure you can think of lots more instances where just adding a few letters or words it can make all the difference to the reader! KMT