What is the generally accepted practice regarding altering quotes to change spelling to the local norm? When translating a quote into a different language, it would be understandable to alter the grammar and sentence structure (and obviously spelling) so long as the quote had the same sort of meaning. However, when quoting a text in the language it was written in, isn’t it normal to leave it alone?
They present the quotes as coming directly from the report, which I thought was odd because I’ve never seen the U.S. Gov. ever use the word ‘programme’. So I searched for the original report, and thanks to the gov’s growing acceptance of the net, found it (in pdf form). Now quoting it directly (pg 33):
The spelling was changed from ‘program’ to ‘programme’, and they also mis-spelled one of the 'occurred’s.
So, does the non-US media usually ‘correct’ the spelling in quotes from the US, and does the US media ‘correct’ the spelling from the ex-empire? Or does this Indian newspaper not have a net connection and they had to transcribe the quote by telephone, without thinking about spelling?
I am a journalist in the United States. The general interest publications I have worked for (such as newspapers) generally have a policy that all spellings are changed to fit our stylebook (which means “American” spellings when there is such a difference). So we write “Labor party” even when the party in question is British. And we alter spellings to American forms when quoting directly from documents. (They also correct typos and inadvertant misspellings.)
However, the publications I have worked for that are specifically for the legal profession generally have a policy of quoting exactly as it was given in the original, even if it contains errors (adding "[sic]" where appropriate).
U.S. publications generally change the spelling of words to fit their style (organization from organisation, e.g.), even in quotes. Of course, the misspelling of “occurred” in that quote is an actual misspelling, not a style change.
What acsenray and dantheman said. Just to add, though, that according to the Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.), section 10.7, this practice is incorrect:
(They also go on to make certain other exceptions, such as that minor typos may be corrected without notice.)
Admittedly, though, this is a difficult rule to follow, as it makes it harder for the proofreaders to catch mistakes. I work part-time as a copy editor, and I find it easier to ignore this rule; and I suspect that most other publishing firms take the same view.