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A Labo(u)r of love

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by deskslave, May 2, 2008.

  1. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    Should stories about organizations in countries with particular spelling conventions maintain those conventions in countries that don't use them?

    Two examples, one real, one hypothetical:

    I ran a story tonight (in an American newspaper) about the pending trouncing of England's Labour Party in local elections. The story, and the headline I wrote, used the Americanized "Labor," mostly because I knew one of my fellow editors would have thrown it back at me and told me, "Change this, you filthy Limey."

    And what if a Canadian newspaper were to run a story about the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People? Should it be Coloured? (Actually, I have a feeling the NAACP is like AT&T, in that the letters now don't officially stand for anything, but the point stands.)

    To me, the Labour Party is its formal name. It's what it's registered under. To me, spelling it Labor is factually incorrect, the same as if some country happened to spell Democratic with two Ms.

    I await your judgment, as well as the hurling of cross-border insults. :D
  2. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    If it is the Labour Party, spell it that way regardless of how us yanks spell it.
  3. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    Agreed. If it's the name, well, that's how it's spelled.

    I will never get over AP's SPT decreeing that "Vyacheslav Kozlov" had to be spelled with an "i" instead of the spelling in the media guide because "that's how it should be spelled in translation." (At the time, DET wasn't allowed to call him "Slava.".)

    Spell names the way they're spelled, even if you think it's unAmerican.
  4. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    I'd spell Labour Party the way it is, but if you were simply using a word labour/labor or cheque/check or something, then I'd make it fit the tradional spelling for my readers.
  5. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    If you're referring to the British political party, it's The Labour Party.

    If you refer to the arena where the Leafs suck, it's the Air Canada Centre, not the the Air Canada Center.

    I'm pretty humourless about all this.

    When the hell you guys gonna lean how to spell? :)
  6. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    About the same time the mullet goes out up there...;)
  7. britwrit

    britwrit Well-Known Member

    I sometimes freelance from London. The NY Times uses "Labor" and by gum, that's good enough for me (especially considering the tiny little places I write for...)
  8. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    This is a similar quandary to the "Turin/Torino" one.

    Where people get confused is when the American version is similar to the foreign version. So it's easy to use the foreign version.

    But it's wrong.

    For American newspapers, the 1980 Olympics were in Moscow, not Москва . . . the name of a Labor Party in Russia would be "Labor", not "Tрудовая" . . . and so the name of the British Labour Party in American newspapers is "Labor." Because you would never say "The colour guard was dressed in armour when it welcomed the Labour Party . . . "

    Consistency. Across the board. And around the globe.

    Always use the American word. Or never do. Good luck with the latter.
  9. Flash

    Flash Guest

    Proper names don't get changed.
  10. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    Go with the proper names. British Labour Party; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

    Changing the names to fit your country's spelling conventions is turning a story factually incorrect. Argue with any copy editor who bitches you out about the spelling if they want to change it.
  11. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member


    Are you planning to use a "Сочи, Россия" dateline with the 2014 Winter Olympics?

    It is, after all, the city's proper name.

    No. You will go by the American name of "Sochi, Russia".

    Same principle. The ONLY difference is that "Labour" doesn't have any funny cyrillic letters. So it doesn't seem as silly to use it.

    Why complicate things by using the foreign spelling only some of the time?
  12. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    That's if Сочи, Россия is still there in 2014.
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