Simplified English anyone??

Subject: Simplified English anyone??
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2002 10:23:27 -0500

sassy shewolf wondered: <<Can anyone tell me what Simplified English is? Has
anyone drafted their manuals using SE, and are there
any standards to be followed in such a case?>>

Others have posted urls for formal resources in SE, but let me briefly don
my Ambrose Bierce hat here and provide my own definition: "Simplified
English is a means of writing in such a way as to avoid the need for
translation and localization, thereby chauvinistically ignoring the rest of
the world and assuming that the wogs* will learn English if they want to use
our stuff." >@8^{)}

Okay, back to the pragmatist hat: SE is actually an interesting solution
when you know that translation and localization may be impractical (e.g.,
way too expensive for a small company's means), or that your audience is
already reasonably proficient in English as their second language (e.g., if
you're writing for Japanese scientists or Hong Kong traders). It provides
essentially none of the benefits of creating a customized document in the
reader's first language, but it does still let you communicate reasonably
well once your audience learns the vocabulary. Moreover, some of the
underlying principles of SE (using words consistently, simplifying your
syntax, etc.) are characteristic of good writing in any language.

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
"User's advocate" online monthly at

"When ideas fail, words come in very handy."--Goethe

* "Westernized Oriental Gentlemen", and yes, it's an antique term that's
every bit as offensive as it sounds.

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