Too many unfamiliar abbreviations can make a document incomprehensible and send your reader to sleep:
(ERDF + EAGGF + CAP = ZZZ).
If the meaning ofan abbreviation might not be clear to your reader, you should:
- write them out in full if the expression only occurs once or twice in the docurrent; or
- spell them out when you first use them in a document, followed by the abbreviation in brackets, and then use the abbreviation in the rest of the document; and/or
- attach a list of abbreviations or a hyperlink to show what they stand for.
The ‘Main Acronyms and Abbreviations’ section of the Interinstitutional Style Guide (http://publications.europa.eu/code/en/en-S000400.htm) defines many of-the acronyms and. abbreviations used in European Commission documents.
As always, consider your readers’ needs:
- Some readers will be irritated if ‘common’ abbreviations are spelled out.
- Writing ‘marketing authorisation holder’ on every other line instead of ‘MAH’ will make the document much longer.
Remember that abbreviations and acronyms can mean different things in different contexts.
ESA stands for
- European Space Agency
- Euratom Supply Agency
- European System of Accounts
- Endangered Species Act
- Environmentally Sensitive Area
- Eastern and Southern Africa
- Electron Stimulated Adsorption
- and several other alternatives.