The Interuniversity Style Guide for Writing Institutional Texts in English is a product of the Vives Network of Universities Language Policy Plan 2012–2014 and its publication is an opportunity to remember two of our organisation’s guiding principles: first, that our universities should be multilingual communities whose members can demonstrate linguistic competence in a variety of languages; and second, that the Network itself is committed to making the Catalan language and our institutional and international relations more widely visible abroad.

The promotion of multilingualism is the general objective of one of the four axes in the Vives Network’s Plan and is further detailed in three specific objectives, two of which are important here: the improvement of the third-language communication skills of students, administrative and service staff and teaching and research staff; and the creation of English-language resources and guidelines for English language use. Amongst other initiatives, the Guide is the result of our universities’ efforts to address these specific objectives.

We believe that it will play an essential role in facilitating inter-university communication and improving the quality of the institutional English-language documents we produce for international readers.

We also propose that it will help our community bolster its knowledge of the English language and acquire the linguistic competence in English that is widely considered to be necessary. If there is value in the fact that twenty-one different universities can work together and eventually share a single set of homogeneous, English-language guidelines, then we have two groups of people to thank for that.

First, there are the university language services who coordinated their efforts to write the Guide. Building on extensive professional experience in higher education and a familiarity with our community’s terminology and with Catalan speakers’ specific needs as producers of information, the language specialists in those services have proved their ability to select and write guidelines to ensure that our English-language texts suit the purposes of international communication and exchange. And second, we should also thank the various university units that piloted the draft document to help tailor its content to our specific communicative needs.

We hope this guide helps users perfect their communication techniques and write better English-language texts. Finally, because both languages and institutions are living entities subject to change, we are also aware that the paper and digital editions of the Guide will need to be reviewed on a regular basis and so we look forward to all those observations and suggestions that the university community sees fit to share with us.

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