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Summary of the Translation Guidelines for Freie Universität Berlin


American English should always be used when producing websites in English for Freie Universität, with only a very few exceptions – notably, the Institute for English Language and Literature, and translations of degree certificates, which are translated into British English in accordance with an Executive Board decision of 2009.

How do I translate “Freie Universität Berlin”?

  • Freie Universität Berlin is treated as a proper name and is never translated.
  • Freie Universität Berlin never takes an article (e.g., “The founding of Freie Universität Berlin was facilitated through international support” – not “of the Freie Universität Berlin.”)
  • Avoid abbreviations such as FU, FUB, or FU Berlin. The only abbreviation permitted is “Freie Universität” (without “Berlin”).
  • Universität in Freie Universität should always be spelled with the Umlaut (ä).

Corporate Design / Use of Logo

The Freie Universität logo must never be altered in any way. Color, shape, and design must all be retained when using the logo. See www.fu-berlin.de/cd (only available when logged into the Freie Universität computer network).

Grammar, Style, and Spelling

  • Hyphens are generally used less often in American than in British English.
  • Prefixes such as non, inter, multi, trans do not take a hyphen (e.g., nonacademic, intercultural, transnational).
  • Phrases made up of several words are generally written without a hyphen (e.g., higher education institutions).
  • In the U.S., dates are usually written in the form MM/DD/YY. To avoid confusion, it is usually better to write the name of the month in full or, where this is not possible, abbreviated, e.g., February 20, 2014, or Feb. 20, 2014.
  • When a word ends in -ed or -ing, the preceding consonant is not usually doubled (e.g., traveled, traveling). However, be careful of exceptions such as controlled, controlling. (Check the Merriam Webster dictionary, if unsure.)
  • Generally z rather than s, e.g., realize not realise.
  • Generally o rather than ou, e.g., color not colour.
  • Generally g rather than gue, e.g., catalog not catalogue.
  • Generally er rather than re, e.g., center not centre.

Book and Journal Titles/Headlines

Nearly all words take a capital letter, with the exception of articles (a, an, the), conjunctions, and prepositions. These should only be capitalized at the beginning of a title or headline (e.g., To Kill a Mockingbird, A Day in the Life).

Reference Books

Please note that this is not a comprehensive guide. Translators and editors writing in English for Freie Universität should refer to the following with spelling/grammar queries:

  • Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary
  • The Chicago Manual of Style. The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers