RE: Writing Simple English for International Audiences

Subject: RE: Writing Simple English for International Audiences
From: "Ernst S. Sibberson" <ernst -at- cros -dot- net>
To: "Techwriter-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2000 15:19:36 -0400

Sandra queried:

"Are there any published standards for writing documentation using
a minimal set of English words?

Now, thanks to Sandra, I know how to respond to the list, I will share what
I sent her.

There is a standard created by AECMA This is the
European Aerospace Authority. It is called Simplified English. They have a
specification which includes a simplified English dictionary.

I have used it years ago working at GE Aircraft Engines. Following it is a
real pain. Only works in the dictionary are allowed--as English words can
have different meanings, such as tap, tapping, tapped.

Below is a quote from the web page on SE.


AECMA Simplified English - Description
The Challenge

English is more and more the international language of aerospace. But:

English has many forms depending on the nationality (or region of that
even standard English can be difficult to understand, if the grammar or word
usage is too complicated
This is true for native English speakers and even truer for those whose
mother tongue is not English.

What is AECMA Simplified English?

AECMA Simplified English (SE) consists of a limited vocabulary and a set of
rules intended to increase the readability of technical texts. It is called
a "controlled language", because these rules impose on writers:

simple syntax
a limited number of words
a limited number of clearly defined meanings for these words -in general,
each word has only one meaning
a limited number of parts of speech for the words - in general, each word
has only one part of speech
The objective is to obtain a brief, and above all, unambiguous text.

Simplified English was developed to help the users of English-language
documentation to understand what they read. However, SE is not only for
those who do not have English as their native language, but also for those
who do.


Hope this helps all.

Ernst S. Sibberson
ernst -at- cros -dot- net
BlueJay Publications

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