I write a German software, which also has to have an English user interface. In Germany we use for contacts the Anrede (Herr / Frau => Mr. / Mrs.). An English Outlook for the field Anrede uses Title.

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As a title I would expect "Dr., Prof., Earl" etc. It seems that I'm wrong here.

What names should I use for the "Mr. / Mrs." field and for the fields "Dr., Prof., Earl"?


"Title" in this context can be either "Mr" "Mrs" or "Ms", or an honorific title such as Dr, Prof, Rev, Sir etc. If you don't have a more specific title, then your title is just "Mr" etc.

If you have a specific title, it replaces the "Mr", so a separate field is not required. It is possible have more than one honorific title. It is possible to be "Rev Smith", "Rev Dr Smith", but not "Rev Mr Smith". The interface designer has to decide between the flexibility of a free text field for the title, or the simplicity of a drop-down option.

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  • In Germany for a female doctor we would write "Dear Mrs. Dr. xxx" in English it's only "Dear Dr. xxx" therefore we use two fields, one for the "Mr. / Mrs." and one for the honoric titles. This is not needed in English. Right? – marsh-wiggle May 25 '19 at 11:54
  • In England you would not say "Dear Mrs Dr". Only one title field is needed. It is possible (but rare) to need two or more words in the title "Dear Rev Dr xxx". But of the few people who have two such titles, only a few actually make a big fuss of them. – James K May 25 '19 at 12:18
  • There is probably no country that is so focused on honorary titles as Germany. You can call someone an idiot, but do not forget to use the correct full honorary title. – marsh-wiggle May 25 '19 at 12:33

For the common name prefixes Mr, Mrs, Miss, and Ms, which provide gender and marital status information, you can use a "title" field. Note that some gender-sensitive people may be uncomfortable with these prefixes so you may want to have an "other" option.

There are other prefixes that are used in some professions and circles, such as Dr, Prof, Rev, Capt, ... (the list can be very long), these are called honorifics. You can add a separate "honorific" field for these if this information is important for your application.

Note that the term "honorific" in general also includes the common prefixes (Mr, Mrs, Miss, and Ms), but if you need separate fields, it is more suitable for the special prefixes mentioned above.

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