Names and forms of address

How names are treated and what is considered an appropriate form of address can vary greatly from one language to another and even within a single language. The UOC offers the following guidelines for English.

In running text, do not combine the use of a title with a person's first name or initial. Instead, use the person's full name on first mention without a title and use Mr or Ms followed by only the surname thereafter. Examples:

+ Return to top

Use Ms when referring to a woman, unless you are sure that she prefers otherwise. This is because Mrs refers to a married woman and could thus be construed as presumptuous, while Miss has traditionally been used for young, unmarried women and could thus sound condescending. In contrast, Ms denotes neither a specific age range nor a specific marital status and is thus acceptable in all contexts except where another title is explicitly preferred. 

When choosing between Ms and Mr in conjunction with an unfamiliar foreign name, make sure that you are certain of the gender of the person in question.

Finally, when mentioning both a man and a woman in a single text, be sure to use the same treatment with regard to forms of address for both. Example:

For more detailed information on gender and language, see the Gender section

+ Return to top

Maintain the title Dr when it is used in the source language, even if it refers to a doctor of something other than medicine. Remember, unlike in Catalan, in English the same title is used whether the person in question is man or a woman. Examples:

The same is true of many other gendered titles in Catalan:

+ Return to top

Avoid foreign titles that are not customary in English (e.g. Dipl.-Ing. (from the German Diplom-Ingenieur) or Ir. (from the French Ingénieur)), replacing them with Mr or Ms, where necessary.

+ Return to top

Honorifics are used less frequently in English than in Catalan and can usually be safely omitted in translations. Compare, for instance, the following references to the mayor of Barcelona, as they might be used in the programme for a conference:

Common exceptions to this rule include the use of honorifics with royalty and certain high-ranking judiciary, political and religious figures, particularly in formal and/or ceremonious contexts. In most other contexts, especially with regard to political figures, a simple Ms or Mr will suffice. Examples:

On rare occasions, and only when strictly requested by the Office of the President, the UOC's president should be referred to as Her/His Excellency. For example, where so instructed, the following phrasing might be used on the programme for a formal institutional event:

+ Return to top