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If I am writing an article about paper money, to a world-wide readership, including an uncertain number of Brits, Americans ... spelling of "cheque" may think I'm ignorant. Others may misunderstand the sentence containing the word. (since "check" has many meanings).

This set of spellings everyone might know. I don't know that but some here seem to think so.
But whenever there is a word that some might not recognize, the first time you use it, you explain the two spellings**, and optionally, give some reason, no matter how small, that you have picked the one you pick.
No one will expect you to use both spellings thoughout the article.

**An explanation need not be long. "One important part of the monetary system is personal and corporate cheques (American spelling: checks)"
I'm not sure what most Americans would think if they saw the spelling

You're not obliged to be sure. You're obliged to be clear.
"cheque". The ones who are aware of the British spelling will probably think "Ah, the writer is a Brit". I'm ... I have written "cheque (check)" or check (cheque) or even check/cheque, but it seems unweildy. Any suggestions? Thanks... Luke (England)

s/ meirman If you are emailing me please
say if you are posting the same response.
Born west of Pittsburgh Pa. 10 years
Indianapolis, 7 years
Chicago, 6 years
Brooklyn NY 12 years
now in Baltimore 20 years
Don't publishers "translate" books from the US into BrE and vice versa. Eg, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's (Sorcerer's) Stone"?

No doubt, but the article in question is a self-published thing that I avail to my clients via the web and in hard-copy form.

Luke
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This set of spellings everyone might know. I don't know ... how small, that you have picked the one you pick.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of the text, some reader ae likely to not start at the beginning.
No one will expect you to use both spellings thoughout ... not obliged to be sure. You're obliged to be clear.

I agree - that's the most important thing. Due to the nature of the material, I'd ideally like the Brits to think it was written by a Brit for the benefit of Brits and the Americans to think it was written by an American for the benefit of Americans, but of course, achivieving both ideals at once is not possible - so I have to strike the best compromise that is as elegant, efficient and clear, and hopefully leaves the Brits and Americans not sure whether it was written by a Brit or an American. Why do I care about that? Because I am trying to solicit the business of Americans from a British base. Many Americans are wary of buying a product from overseas. And vice-versa in the case of the Brits.
Thanks for the input so far.
Luke
Many Americans are wary of buying a product from overseas.

Damn straight we are. Every time we purchase things from abroad we get bit in the ass. Take Louisiana, for example. Ever since we bought that place from the French we've regretted it. Place is full of swamps, alligators, mosquitos, and people who talk like they've got a mouth full of mush. They eat water bugs down there.

Alaska was another bum deal. The Russians saw us coming on that one. Sure, there's oil there, but the place is knee-deep in caribou and you can't drive a drilling rig a mile without hitting six or eight of them. You have to harness up a couple of Alaskan mosquitos to pull a wrecked rig out of there.
We should know better. If we want more land we should just load off a bunch of trinkets to our native population and steal the rest from the Mexicans.
The English are the worst. You do a deal with them and they send the wrong bridge and don't include the river.

Tony Cooper
Orlando FL
If I am writing an article about paper money, to a world-wide readership, including an uncertain number of Brits, Americans and Australians. Which spelling should I use: "cheque" or "check"?

When dealing with a term that could confuse the reader, the best practice is to carefully set up the term you will use, as you will use it throughout the work, on first reference and then follow that use throughout the work.
Journalists, for instance, will follow first reference conventions such as "... Senator John Smith, junior senator from Illinois. Smith said ...". Lawyers will treat confusing or long labels by a first reference technique also. For instance: "...the conspiracy of these bankers operating through the Bank of Cayman Islands deposit account controlled by the defendant reinsurer ("the Offshore Scam"). In March of 1984 the Offshore Scam offered to plaintiff .."
In your case you could do something like "... either demand or acceptance instruments drawing upon an account at an accredited financial institution drawee, though such checks (or "cheques") are sometimes thought of only in the sense of demand instruments. Under the prevailing U.S. rules of negotiability, the Uniform Commercial Code, a check is understood to be a demand instrument, but some common and less strict American use of "check" might include reference to an acceptance draft, usually taking much longer to negotiate because the drawer has provided for an endorsement scheme which will prove the check was not intercepted, as by mail theft or a dishonest caretaker of an elderly person." That is long winded and might get into more detail than is wanted, particularly if you only wish to talk about the complete money supply in a country as including checks, but shows you have chosen "checks" as the term you will use by choosing it on first reference.

Sometimes being very detailed in defining something carries a professional aroma to it, so long as it isn't so long winded or obscure as to carry a stench.There can also be differences in the rules of negotiability of instruments in various countries, so it may be that there genuinely are differences in "checks" and "cheques", and even between British cheques and Aussie cheques. Maybe a contrast in spelling reflects a contrast in substance? (I recall something about Welsh and English currency being different and not necessarily interchangeable as legal tender somewhere else in this newsgroup.) If I can count on an American check clearing in 'x' many days based upon the routing chain between the banks, an aspect of this paper money is that floats of funds in favor of the bank or 'permissible' kiting time in favor of the check writer might be different from what I could expect for a "cheque" that will clear through a British clearing house(1).

Maybe it matters in your article, maybe not.
(1) Reminds me of a splendid article about the negotiability of cows which have drafts written on them and are duly tendered to tax collectors: BOARD OF INLAND REVENUE v. HADDOCK. It is a fictional work by A.P. Herbert that used to be on-line, but perhaps the Herbert estate enforced its copyright after the BBC aired the story. The story isn't available on-line anymore. I'll have to settle for a delightful qoute:
"The concept of two people living together for 25 years without a serious dispute suggests a lack of spirit only to be admired in sheep." - A. P. Herbert
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/a p herbert.html
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No doubt, but the article in question is a self-published thingthat I avail to my clients via the web and in hard-copy form.

Why didn't you say so before, then? No problem: you write your own version of the language, and if it's good enough, anybody who matters will barely notice.
Consider Bill Bryson's very amusing Short History of Nearly Everything . The edition I've just read is so laboriously Europeanised that it actually distracted me: I'd be happier reading a straight American version.
(Every bugger on the planet will notice that idiosyncratic nay, eccentric use of "avail", though.)

Mike.
And all this time you thought that American keyboards didn't come with a "u" key.

Aha that's why Br-ce Springsteen sings "Born in the SA."

Liebs
Oh, that's what they're doing ...

And all this time you thought that American keyboards didn't come with a "u" key.

Not only that but I blush to admit I thought British keyboards were the only ones where the F15 key enabled irony mode.

John Dean
Oxford
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Don't publishers "translate" books from the US into BrE and vice versa.

Can someone answer this question? I don't think these translations happen often, but I could be wrong.
Eg, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's (Sorcerer's) Stone"?

That one, yes, but what about books AUEers might want to read?

Charles Riggs
There are no accented letters in my email address
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