I am an American whose company has just been acquired by a UK-based company, and a large part of my current job is to "translate" our marketing materials from UK English into US English, and vice versa. At the moment I'm interested in understanding the distinctions in meaning of the phrase "in line with" as used in British versus American English.
I've borrowed (with slight changes) some examples from the web:
1. "The company's first quarter results released earlier today are INLINE WITH full-year forecasts."
Here we have a sense of earnings being approximately equal to forecasts. We could call this quantitative accordance. This would be commonly heard and accurately understood in both the UK and the US.
2. "She also announced moves to toughen up hygiene standards inhospitals, bringing them IN LINE WITH rules governing the food industry."
Here the meaning is closer to obedient to* or *in agreement with* or *compliant with* or *subservient to. We might call this qualitative accordance. It seems like this sense would be less commonly heard in the US than in the UK, although it would be accurately understood in both. (If used in US, the phrase here would undoubtedly be "into line with")
3. "The rate of the interest applicable to your loan will fluctuate INLINE WITH changes to the variable interest rate."
Here we mean along with* or *at the same time and in the same direction as. Let's call it a spatial/temporal accordance. This is definitely a UK-only usage, although Americans would probably understand it correctly.
So far this is all pretty straightforward. What I'm wondering about is this type of usage:
4. "IN LINE WITH major changes in medical education over the lastdecade, the book stresses the importance of the community and the health of the population which play an integral part in becoming a good doctor."
This I would also classify as a non-US English usage - to my American ears it sounds vague and imprecise. The phrase seems to have one of the following meanings...
concurrent with (temporal/simultaneous)
as a result of (temporal/causal)
in addition to (temporal/sequence ambiguous)
mindful of (not sure how to classify this one)
My hunch is that mindful of is closest to the intended meaning. But I also suspect it could be a combination of meanings.

Can anyone shed some light on this topic?
1 2 3 4
I am an American whose company has just been acquired by a UK-based company, and a large part of my current job is to "translate" our marketing materials from UK English into US English, and vice versa.

You may find it helpful to know that this process commonly goes by the name of "localization".
jc
I am an American whose company has just been acquired ... materials from UK English into US English, and vice versa.

You may find it helpful to know that this process commonly goes by the name of "localization". jc

Even in the case of changing *to* US English? I thought that was called "globalization".
Best regards,
Spehro Pefhany

"it's the network..." "The Journey is the reward" (Email Removed) Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com Embedded software/hardware/analog Info for designers: http://www.speff.com
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
I am an American whose company has just been acquired by a UK-based company, and a large part of my ... I'm interested in understanding the distinctions inmeaning of the phrase "in line with" as used in British versus American English.

In preface: this is not going to be a fun one.
I can tell you that "in line with" does not appear in the OED Online or either of my primary paper usage manuals, Merriam Wester's Dictionary of English Usage and The New Fowler's. Nor does it appear in Chicago or the Oxford Guide to English Usage. My Oxford Reference Online access gives me nothing on a formal explanation of "in line with," with the following reference works searched:
The Oxford American Dictionary of Current English
The Concise Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford American Thesaurus of Current English
The Oxford Paperback Thesaurus
The Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar
Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language
A New Dictionary of Eponyms
The Oxford Essential Dictionary of Foreign Terms in English The Oxford Dictionary of Idioms
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics
The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs
The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style
Pocket Fowler's Modern English Usage
Free Ask Oxford resources have also failed to nail down an answer.

Bartleby.com failed to get anything on "in line with" in Dictionaries and English Usage.
Last but not least, I ran through my Merriam Webster's Collegiate (11th) and Merriam Webster's online.
Conclusion, we have nothing from a considerable number of formal usage writers, lexicographers and other specialists.
Slightly more spurious sources would include:
http://www.answers.com/in+line+with&r=67
http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary 1861698673 561533461/nextpage.html
Basically, this seems to be an uninvestigated, new point of English usage.
I am an American and I have been living in Europe for the last five years.
Here's my best personal stab at your questions.
I've borrowed (with slight changes) some examples from the web: 1. "The company's first quarter results released earlier today are ... could call this quantitative accordance. This would be commonly heard and accurately understood in both the UK and the US.

Agreed.
2. "She also announced moves to toughen up hygiene standards in hospitals, bringing them IN LINE WITH rules governing the ... it would be accurately understood in both. (If used in US, the phrase here would undoubtedly be "into line with")

I would say that "compliant to" is the closest meaning. You also have a point about "into line with," but without a corpora search on American English we really can't be sure. "Qualitative accordance may be a strong characterization, as we'll see in a bit."
3. "The rate of the interest applicable to your loan will fluctuateIN LINE WITH changes to the variable interest rate." ... as*. Let's call it a spatial/temporal accordance. This is definitely a UK-only usage, although Americans would probably understand it correctly.

Precisely. Americans would seem to be far more likely to say "in accordance with" in such situations.
So far this is all pretty straightforward. What I'm wondering aboutis this type of usage: 4. "IN LINE WITH major ... is that mindful of is closest to the intended meaning. ButI also suspect it could be a combination of meanings.

Once agaon, I think you have discovered a significant usage question here, parrishioner. I disagree with you that "mindful of" would characterize the meaning as well as "in unquestioning acceptance of" here. This returns us to Usage Type 2 and the problem with thinking of it in terms of simple qualitative accordance. "In line with" in this understanding inherits a vague sense of toadying to developments in the field at large, as if the direction of the field at large over the last decade was above suspicion. It looks like a clever way to gain an argument from authority.
I may be able to root up a few more reference works that will give us a better idea of what's going on.
Good luck, parrishioner. This is an important post.
You may find it helpful to know that this process commonly goes by the name of "localization".

Even in the case of changing *to* US English?

That's "localisation".

Mike Barnes
Cheshire, England
Even in the case of changing *to* US English?

That's "localisation".

In my experience the term isn't used to refer to a single instance of translation.
Take for example a piece of software which has been written for a single market, the UK for example, and which is now to be marketed more widely. The program is first globalised , which involves putting all the market-specific stuff into a separate "resource file" and modifying the program to retrieve its contents at runtime. Then the localisation phase can occur everytime a new market is prepared, and this involves creating a new version of the resource file in French, US English, etc.

Matti
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Even in the case of changing *to* US English?

That's "localisation".

Izzenit "colonisation"?

John Dean
Oxford
a large part of my current job is to "translate" our marketing materials from UK English into US English, and ... importance of the community and the health of the population which play an integral part in becoming a good doctor."

These examples document interestingly two different sorts of phenomenon.
Business writing now displays a distinct preference for longer words and more words than for short phrasing. No. 3 could just as well read "will vary as the interest rate changes." No. 1 could read "results released earlier today conform to full-year forecasts."
As linguistic skills decline, there is a temptation to use the current buzzword wherever it might fit, because of tacit associations of meaning, as between: in line with, align, party line, toe the line, line up with, and so on.

I suggest focusing on the individual phrase is likely to mislead us, because of these two phenomena.
Instead of seeking to analyse buzzwords and their
variants, it would be faster to focus on the function of actual sentences, e.g. No. 4:
4. "IN LINE WITH major changes in medical education over the last decade, the book stresses the importance of the community and the health of the population which play an integral part in becoming a good doctor."

First we can make it shorter:
Following major changes in medical education over the last decade, this book emphasizes the community environment and local health conditions play an integral part in becoming a good doctor.
We then notice the sentence is probably balderdash:
1. The reference to recent med school changes issolely ornamental.

2. The sentence identifies two phenomena, "community and thehealth of the population," which are themselves dissimilar and probably different in philosophical type. Both are quite real: but community is wholly undefined (e.g. whether the writer means social relationships or material conditions) and health is something lived by individuals but usually measured only in aggregate indicators (statistics about communities.)

3. The main verb of the sentence insists that medical training("becoming a good doctor") is not merely influenced by these two phenomena: the writer claims they are functionally essential ("integral") i.e. their absence makes it difficult or impossible to become a good doctor. This seems to be practically meaningless. (No medical school could be void of "communiitiy" and "health.")

The original sentence reads like a blurb. If its
purpose is to sell this book, I suggest it be
rewritten. (If the book were written so imprecisely as the blurb, perhaps we should write either both
or neither.)
At all events, study of the phrase "in line with" seems unlikely to help. This is why I prefer the functional approach, precision so far as possible, and the
omission of needless words.

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
Even in the case of changing *to* US English?

That's "localisation".

Either way, it's a dashed bad word, since it already means something very different which might often appear in the same context. But I have no single-word alternative to offer.

Mike.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Show more