Shopping Basket 0
Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.


About Us

Appendix 12. Different Meanings: Words to Avoid, Replace, or Explain Because of Different International Meanings

Appendix 12. Different Meanings: Words to Avoid, Replace, or Explain Because of Different International Meanings

The following words should be avoided, replaced, or explained in products using internationalization level 4.

Instead of... Use...
ball park stadium, field
sports grounds might be the more apt translation for Australia and the United Kingdom.
ball game sporting event (if it works in the context; can probably use ball game if referring specifically to baseball)
brainstorm Verb: consider or think about or list
Noun: thought or idea
brown bag lunch
buck (as in money, not the male deer) money or another substitute
candy sweets
cantaloupe Use this phrase (with comma): cantaloupe, or rockmelon (Cantaloupe is called rockmelon in Australia. It’s the same thing.)
catastrophize exaggerate or think the worst
cents (as in money) remove or replace with a generic term: money
From HKA: cents is still relevant, but money is also fine as a substitute.
cheerleader This is an American phenomenon. Try to avoid mentioning.
"put a checkmark" "indicate" or "mark"

"Mark the items that . . ."
"Place a mark beside the items that . . ."
"Indicate which items . . ."
"Mark the items with a \symbol for checkmark\"
"Place a \symbol for checkmark\ beside the items."

In the United Kingdom and Australia, they use the word tick: "Tick the eating triggers that are problems for you."
College (This can get misinterpreted. In some parts, even a school for elementary children is called a college. In other places, a college seems to be more of a trade school.) Write around, or replace with university.
cookies If used, supply translation. These are biscuits in Australia and the UK.
From HKA: We tend to use biscuits more, although cookies is creeping in.
crackers Write around if at all possible.
From HKA: Crackers here refer to small fireworks. We tend to use dry biscuit in the food sense.
dollar remove or replace with a generic term: money
Make costs of items obviously in U.S. dollars: $11.95 U.S.
donut doughnut (Note: donut isn’t correct anyway, even in American English.)
eating right eating correctly, eating well
energized enthusiastic, excited, or another substitute
french fries Supply translation if book will go to the United Kingdom. These are chips in the United Kingdom.
From HKA: French fries translates fine to Australia, thanks to McDonald’s.
gas (as in fuel for a car) This is petrol in the United Kingdom and Australia. Rewrite around it, or replace it with fuel.
get down or feel down feel bad or are despondent
go easy (as in "go easy on the dressing") Rewrite or replace. In this example, reduce would work.
granola (this is not recognized in the UK) Rewrite, or use something such as "(similar to muesli)." There’s not an exact translation for the United Kingdom or Australia. Muesli comes close, though it’s not as crunchy as granola. It’s a mixture of baked grains, dried fruits, and nuts. It sounds like a cross between cereal and granola. Sometimes it’s used in the context of a nutrition bar type of thing-SlimFast apparently has muesli bars, but so do other companies not related to weight loss (more like our Balance Bar and PowerBar). I found a rugby web site that included muesli bars on their list of possible snacks.
To grill in the UK is to broil, so you have to be careful with this one. A "barbecue" in Australia or the UK is a grill in the U.S.
grocery store supermarket
healthful, healthfully healthy, in a healthy manner, healthily, etc.
holiday Avoid if possible because of varying meanings in different countries. Can use if people interpreting different meanings is OK (if context can support both the meaning of "vacation" and "public holiday").
log, logging (as a verb) monitor, monitoring, recording, or another substitute. Not journaling.
mad (implies insanity in UK) angry, upset
packs in (don’t use as slang) Change "packs in a lot of vitamins" or "packs a lot of vitamins" to "has a lot of vitamins" OR change "minestrone soup packs in a lot of vegetables" to "minestrone soup often includes . . ." or contains
pantry Replace with cupboards if going to the United Kingdom. Pantry is OK in Australia.
parfait (as in "fruit and yogurt parfait")
This is not familiar to readers in Australia or the UK
delete or replace with dessert
penny or pennies (as in money) remove or replace with generic term: money
physician Consider changing to doctor if you mean this in a somewhat general context.
In the United States: Physician is a general term for a doctor of medicine and is often used as an all-encompassing term for all types of doctors.
In Australia and the United Kingdom: A physician is a specialist in internal or general medicine (rather than in surgery, might be the comparison).
potato chips If book is going to the United Kingdom, supply translation. These are crisps in the United Kingdom. Potato chips translates fine to Australia.
potluck shared meal? group meal?From HKA: I think potlucks are a uniquely American phenomenon. Dinner party doesn’t work.
roommate housemate or friend
savvy smart
skillet frying pan
skim milk nonfat milk
soda, soda pop, pop, cola soft drink
stacks up (don’t use as slang) e.g., Change "may not stack up nutritionally" to "may not be as nutritional" or "compares favorably with."
suspenders Avoid.
suspenders garter or garter belt
braces suspenders
braces braces or retainer?
switch, as in "make the switch" (AUS) change ("make the change")
teen (AUS) teenager, adolescent
veggies vegetables
winningest Try to avoid.
yardwork working in the lawn (works for the UK)
From HKA: We don’t have yards here, just gardens, so we use gardening instead of yardwork.
 doggy bag NEW added 8/06  take-home food

Helpful Web Sites

U.S./UK differences
*This is an excellent site to find out what words mean in the United Kingdom compared to the United States and whether they exist in each language. Also includes some Australian and Canadian meanings.
Australian English dictionary

Cooking conversions
*This last one seems to be the most helpful in making food conversions.
On this page, you type in the ingredients and click on Go. It will call up recipes containing those ingredients. I just looked through a few to find ones where the amounts were close to what I needed so I didn’t have to do too much calculating. Once you have a recipe up, you can go to the Customize This Recipe area at the bottom left and click on the Convert to Metric button. Voila!

Australian and New Zealand (Australasian) slang

Interesting Book
Bryson, Bill. 1990. The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way. New York: Morrow.

Get the latest news, special offers, and updates on authors and products. SIGN UP NOW!

Human Kinetics Rewards

About Our Products

Book Excerpts


News and Articles

About Us

Career Opportunities


Business to Business

Author Center

HK Today Newsletter


Exam/Desk Copies

Language rights translation

Association Management

Associate Program

Rights and Permissions




Certifying Organizations

Continuing Education Policies

Connect with Us

YouTube Tumblr Pinterest

Terms & Conditions


Privacy Policy


Safe Harbor