Is Time managing editor Rick Stengel attempting to gently nudge the U.S. to the metric system? A new mandate was handed down this morning, telling writers and editors that from now on, all measurements will be expressed in "both imperial and metric equivalents." Clearly, this is a losing battle Stengel is waging, but we'll give him points for attempting to be a trailblazer in so many ways. (After all, the mag is so "clean and inviting," according to the Chicago Tribune. That sounds like a magazine that would want to be metric! Very Euro-sleek!) The memo follows.
Time is going global. And metric. Starting with the next issue, we will provide both imperial and metric equivalents for distance, weight, volume and temperature. (We've been doing this for some time in our graphics. Now we'll extend this to the general text as well.) This will help ensure that one text works for all of our international editions.
In most cases, we'll use the imperial measure first and then show the metric equivalent in parentheses: five ft. (1.5 m); 170 lbs. (77 kg); 5 gallons (19 liters); 98.6 degrees F (37 degrees Celsius).
As always, editors should use their judgment. There's no need to convert every reference, particularly regarding sports (a 10-yard touchdown run need not be translated into a 9.14-m scamper).
Good luck (Bonne chance)!