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The common denominator for credible & concise documentation across industries

The common denominator for credible & concise documentation across industries

TCLoc Master article on The common denominator for credible & concise documentation across industries by Ms. Shumin Chen, Principal ASD-STE100 Trainer & Consultant.

First published on TCLoc Master Blog • University of Strasbourg • 4 December 2017

Safety, efficiency, and readability are the main considerations for the use of ASD-STE100 Simplified Technical English (STE) in the aerospace and defense industries. For many other industries, such as machinery, automotive, electronics, IT, and medical equipment, another important consideration is to save on translation costs without compromising on translation quality. As technical communicators, navigating the tricky terrains of cost, quality, and efficiency in project management can be an extremely delicate equilibrium to maintain.

Standards

To technical communication professionals, it makes a lot of sense to use standards whenever possible to achieve similar results. However, standards in the documentation field are often disregarded. Documentation always kicks in when the product is already behind schedule, and over budget for the product life-cycle. However, we still want to stand behind what we do and make sure we provide a quality product. How does a written language standard potentially help us to achieve this and why do we need a controlled language such as STE to begin with?

Consider the following example:

Standard English:

Follow these instructions to prevent potential failures and damage and to ensure as safe and trouble-free functioning of the product as possible. Read this manual before starting to work with the filter system, familiarize yourself with the functionality and operation of the product and follow the instructions.

STE:

FOR SAFE OPERATION, OBEY THESE INSTRUCTIONS TO PREVENT POSSIBLE FAILURES.
READ THIS MANUAL BEFORE YOU START TO DO WORK WITH THE FILTER SYSTEM. KNOW THE PRODUCT FUNCTION AND OPERATION, AND OBEY ALL INSTRUCTIONS.

Which set of instructions lets you understand and complete the procedure with greater ease?

 

New name, new beginnings: Thoughts on my first STE training workshop using Issue 7

New name, new beginnings: Thoughts on my first STE training workshop using Issue 7

Not just a standard for maintenance documentation only

On 25 January 2017, Issue 7 of the ASD-STE100 was renamed ‘International specification for the preparation of maintenance technical documentation in a controlled language’. Now, given the success and adaptability of Simplified Technical English (STE) across industries, this long overdue name change is a very much welcomed move. Indeed, STE writing principles are very valid for all technical documentation purposes.

On 20 and 21 February 2017 Shufrans TechDocs & FOXIZ became the first companies worldwide to jointly offer a certified ASD-STE100 training workshop using Issue 7.

Naturally, a cake celebration was called for after writers worked so very hard on their STE rewriting assignments. 2017 coincides with my 11th year of using the ASD-STE100 Specification, although I had hoped for an earlier release date in 2016 to mark a decade of my technical writing career 😉

Followed this course last February and truly learned a lot. Shumin is very experienced and really knows what she is talking / teaching about. Recommended for all manual writers!

– Hans Harlé, Entecst Technical Communication

20% fewer rules in Issue 7!

Here are some of my observations: Seemingly overlapping writing rules were either removed or combined with others.  The results?  A 20% decrease in the number of writing rules from 65 to 53. Before you get the wrong idea, the message of STE did not change, it only crystallised. What transpired during those four years since the older issue in 2013 was a major overhaul where rules were succinctly rephrased and cleverly reorganised

Every rule now includes a comprehensive description and explanation. Sentence examples were revised to facilitate a more progressive and concise understanding, coupled with an accurate use of this technical English writing standard.

A reduced learning curve

As a controlled language, STE writing rules and its core vocabulary (or general dictionary) of words work hand in hand to facilitate your authoring process. While the rules regulate the words and which parts of speech you can use, the dictionary provides you with a generous resource of technical words. This core vocabulary of around 930 approved words lets you write just about everything that you need for technical documentation, even for procedural information in general. However, this isn’t quite the end of my story yet.

Every dictionary entry is marked either as an approved or non-approved term. In the case of a non-approved word, one or more possible synonyms are provided to help the writer transition from Standard English to Simplified English. Approved synonyms and associated sentence examples will provide him with the ideas that will be difficult to think of all by himself. The revised layout and formatting in Issue 7 also makes it a lot easier to locate keywords and identify relevant examples speedily.

In recent versions of the ASD-STE100 specification issues 5, 6, and 7, we find that between 95 to 99% of the words in the STE general dictionary can be easily adapted even for technology companies, like the technical aspects of data protection solutions. And the concept of the STE specification is such that you can very easily adapt the specification to suit and cover your specific needs. It mainly entails additions to the dictionary which are customarily made, even for aerospace customers.

 

Enslaved to only 1,000 words or less? No way!

STE encompasses three main categories of words that technical writers can avail themselves of:

  1. Approved words from the general dictionary
  2. Technical names
  3. Technical verbs.

Technical names and verbs are word categories where organisations and writers can enjoy a considerable degree of autonomy using STE guidelines for customer-specific terms, most of them are known as technical names. Technical names are mainly nouns that you need in order to write meaningful content about your specific product or services. They are not included in the dictionary because terminology differs from one industry to the other. To manage this unpredictability, STE provides lists of 19 categories for nouns (Rule 1.5 of Issue 7), and four categories for verbs (Rule 1.12 of Issue 7). I am happy to report that the STE Maintenance Group has since reviewed and enriched those lists in Issue 7. You will not do away with most of your product-specific terminology. However, STE principles will help you regulate and filter it. I strongly encourage technical communicator in any field to hold onto this specification as a highly valuable resource!


Shumin Chen

About the trainer

Since 2006, Ms Shumin Chen has been working as a consultant with customers in various industries worldwide: aerospace and defence, banking, consumer products, healthcare, IT, medical and fitness equipment. She has helped many companies with their documentation needs, based on standards where possible, and is widely regarded as a leading expert in ASD-STE100 Simplified Technical English training, aviation documentation, and multilingual documentation.

Ms Chen now heads the ASD-STE100 training arm of Shufrans TechDocs. In her current role, Ms Chen continues to focus on the practical implementation of international standards to facilitate the efficient creation and management of multilingual documentation.

Copyright © 2017 Shufrans TechDocs. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means whatsoever without express written permission from the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. 

Are you ready to make STE your strategic partner?

Attend a 2-day certified ASD-STE100 workshop at any of our worldwide locations
TCTrainNet offers new training unit on Simplified Technical English

TCTrainNet offers new training unit on Simplified Technical English

 

This article was first published on tcworld magazine for information management by Monika Engelke • April 2017

As a technical writer, your main task is to transfer technical information to users in a clear way to help prevent user errors. In global organizations, a large amount of user information is written in English, with STE (Simplified Technical English) playing an important role as an international standard. Professional technical writers have a lot to gain by using this standard to communicate and be understood accurately worldwide.

 

That is why TCTrainNet has added a new training unit on STE that has been developed by our experts! In this new unit, you will get an overview of more than 60 rules that will help improve your writing skills.

The STE learning unit serves as a basic introduction to the concept and working principles of STE.

ASD-STE100 Simplified Technical English (STE) is the international standard for accurate and efficient documentation. STE helps to make technical documentation easy to understand by standardizing vocabulary, grammar and style, while letting users control their specific terminology.

It includes:

  • A set of technical English writing rules
  • A basic general vocabulary dictionary for writing technical documentation.

Language for all industries

STE addresses difficulties in understanding the English language. Problems related to complex sentence structures, confusing word forms, and unclear vocabulary are identified and resolved using STE technical writing rules. In George Orwell’s words, “If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy.”

The learning unit is intended to help you

  • Use words from the STE dictionary to replace ambiguous, confusing technical terms in your technical documentation.
  • Apply STE writing rules in practice.
  • Gain a practical working knowledge of ASD-STE100 Simplified Technical English.

Get tekom certified

To learn more about the tekom’s technical writing and certification platform TCTrainNet click here.

 


Shumin Chen

About the trainer

Since 2006, Ms Shumin Chen has been working as a consultant with customers in various industries worldwide: aerospace and defence, banking, consumer products, healthcare, IT, medical and fitness equipment. She has helped many companies with their documentation needs, based on standards where possible, and is widely regarded as a leading expert in ASD-STE100 Simplified Technical English training, aviation documentation, and multilingual documentation.

Ms Chen now heads the ASD-STE100 training arm of Shufrans TechDocs. In her current role, Ms Chen continues to focus on the practical implementation of international standards to facilitate the efficient creation and management of multilingual documentation.

Dozuki Workshop Series – Optimize your technical content (Part 3 of 3)

Dozuki Workshop Series – Optimize your technical content (Part 3 of 3)

Read Part 1 & 2 of our blog series here:

Dozuki Workshop Series – Optimize your technical content (Part 1 of 3)

Dozuki Workshop Series – Optimize your technical content (Part 2 of 3)

In this final installment of our three-part text analysis, we highlight areas for improvement, then provide the same information based on Simplified Technical English (STE) writing rules.

RULE: 5.1 Keep procedural sentences as short as possible (20 words maximum).

RULE: 9.2 When you combine words to make a phrase, make sure that each word continues to obey the meanings given to them in the Dictionary.

1a) Standard English:

Hold onto your iPhone securely and close the handle of the iSclack to separate the suction cups, pulling the front panel up from the rear case.

1b) STE:

Hold your iPhone tightly and close the iSclack handles. The suction cup at the top will pull the front panel up from the rear case.

Analysis:

In this rewrite, it is not necessary to create a phrasal verb such as ‘hold onto‘ to add emphasis to the verb ‘hold‘. Also, the objective of this step is to remove the front panel from the rear case. For this reason, we rephrased the sentence to clearly show which components need to be removed, using which tools. It is also recommended to write short, simple to understand sentences in procedural-type instructions.

 

RULE: 1.17  Make your instructions as specific as possible.

2a) Standard English:

The iSclack is designed to safely open your iPhone just enough to separate the pieces, but not enough to damage any cables.

2b) STE:

The iSclack can safely open your iPhone without damage to the cables.

Analysis:

In this rewrite, we reduced the number of words from 21 to 12. The Standard English sentence above seems  rather excessive in trying to explain the use of the iSclack, when it is sufficient to say that the iSclack tool is safe to use, without going into unnecessary details, such as design.

 

RULE: 1.1 Only use approved words in the dictionary

3a) Standard English:

Skip the next three steps and continue on to Step 8.

3b) STE:

Go to Step 8.

Analysis:

‘Skip’ is an unapproved word in STE, and not quite useful in this context. Simply tell your reader which steps they need to complete next.

Watch the Dozuki Workshop on: Simplified Technical English workshop with Shumin Chen, and be inspired once again!


Shumin Chen

About the speaker

Since 2006, Ms Shumin Chen has been working as a consultant with customers in various industries worldwide: aerospace and defence, banking, consumer products, healthcare, IT, medical and fitness equipment. She has helped many companies with their documentation needs, based on standards where possible, and is widely regarded as a leading expert in ASD-STE100 Simplified Technical English training, aviation documentation and multilingual documentation.

Ms Chen now heads the ASD-STE100 training arm of Shufrans TechDocs. In her current role, Ms Chen continues to focus on the practical implementation of international standards to facilitate the efficient creation and management of multilingual documentation.

Copyright © 2016 Shufrans TechDocs. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means whatsoever without express written permission from the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. 

Ready to learn more?

Make STE your strategic partner today!

STE training & consultancy
Dozuki Workshop Series – Optimize your technical content (Part 2 of 3)

Dozuki Workshop Series – Optimize your technical content (Part 2 of 3)

Read Part 1 of our blog series here:

Dozuki Workshop Series – Optimize your technical content (Part 1 of 3)

A precise, coherent and audience-oriented technical content delivery is what every professional technical communicator should aim for, and standardising your terminology and documents at the word, phrase, and sentence levels is the first step to take.

In part two of our three-part text analysis, we will continue to share more examples of how you can prepare your content for optimum re-use, readability, and translatability. We will highlight areas for improvement, then provide the same information based on Simplified Technical English (STE) writing rules.

 

RULE: 5.1 Keep procedural sentences as short as possible.

1a) Standard English:

The next two steps demonstrate using the iSclack, a great tool for safely opening the iPhone 5c that we recommend for anyone doing more than one repair on an iPhone 5, 5s, or 5c. If you aren’t using the iSclack, skip to Step 5.

1b) STE:

If you do not use the iSclack, go to Step 5. Steps 3 and 4 show you how to use the iSclack to open the iPhone 5c safely. If you will do more than one repair, we recommend this tool.

Analysis:

In this rewrite, we advise users to skip the next two steps immediately if they do not use the iSclack. Also, shorter instructions that inform the user what specific actions to complete are easier to process. Procedural sentences in STE should ideally stay within the 20-word limit.

 

RULE: 3.3  Use the approved forms of the verb to make only:

  – The infinitive (to open..)

  – The imperative (Open the..)

 – The past participle as an adjective (the opened valve)

  – The simple present tense (it opens)

  – The simple past tense (it opened)

  – The future tense (you will open..)

2a) Standard English:

  • Close the handle on the iSclack, opening the suction-cup jaws.

2b) STE:

  • Close the iSclack handles to open the suction-cup jaws.

Analysis:

The present participle or verbs ending in -ing are not used in STE unless they are part of a technical name. Some examples include: during, lighting, missing, routing, and servicing.

 

RULE: 1.1 Only use approved words in the dictionary

3a) Standard English:

  • Place the bottom of your iPhone in between the suction cups, against the plastic depth gauge.
  • The top suction cup should rest just above the home button.
  • Open the handles to close the jaws of the iSclack. Center the suction cups and press them firmly onto the top and bottom of the iPhone.

3b) STE:

  • Put the bottom of your iPhone between the suction cups, against the plastic depth gauge.
  • The top suction cup must be just above the home button.
  • Open the handles to close the jaws. Align the suction cups with the center, then push them tightly onto the top and bottom of the iPhone.

Analysis:

Use ‘put‘ instead of ‘place’, ‘must‘ instead of ‘should’, ‘push‘ instead of ‘press’, and ‘tightly‘ instead of ‘firmly’. ‘Center‘ is an approved STE word, but only as a technical noun. Ergo, it is necessary to rewrite this clause to: ‘Align the suction cups with the centre,..’.

The STE general vocabulary or dictionary offers technical writers approved synonyms for non-approved words. This is going to be very helpful for the writer who is transitioning from Standard English to Simplified Technical English.

Further reading: Dozuki Workshop Series – Optimize your technical content (Part 3 of 3)


Shumin Chen

About the speaker

Since 2006, Ms Shumin Chen has been working as a consultant with customers in various industries worldwide: aerospace and defence, banking, consumer products, healthcare, IT, medical and fitness equipment. She has helped many companies with their documentation needs, based on standards where possible, and is widely regarded as a leading expert in ASD-STE100 Simplified Technical English training, aviation documentation and multilingual documentation.

Ms Chen now heads the ASD-STE100 training arm of Shufrans TechDocs. In her current role, Ms Chen continues to focus on the practical implementation of international standards to facilitate the efficient creation and management of multilingual documentation.

Copyright © 2016 Shufrans TechDocs. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means whatsoever without express written permission from the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. 

Ready to learn more?

Make STE your strategic partner today!

STE training & consultancy
Dozuki Workshop Series – Optimize your technical content (Part 1 of 3)

Dozuki Workshop Series – Optimize your technical content (Part 1 of 3)

Your content matters

To follow-up with the audience on the webinar session on 26 July 2016, we will share in more detail some examples of how you can prepare your content for optimum re-use, readability, and translatability.

In the three-part text analysis that follows, we will highlight areas for improvement, then provide the same information based on Simplified Technical English (STE) writing rules.

 

Replace iphone 5c power button STE

 

RULE: 1.2 Use approved words from the Dictionary only as the part of speech given.

1a) Standard English:

If your display is cracked, keep further breakage contained and prevent bodily harm during your repair by taping the glass.

1b) STE:

If there are cracks in your display glass, use tape to prevent more damage and possible injuries.

Analysis:

‘Crack’ is only approved as an STE technical noun, not a verb. For this reason, we changed the past participle form ‘cracked’ to ‘cracks’.

It is also not advisable to use fake verbs or a passive construction such as ‘by taping’ in your sentence. This is a violation of rule 1.2 where ‘tape’ is used only as a noun, and also hides the doer of the action. Instead, write ‘use tape to prevent more damage..’ to sound more direct.

We also removed unnecessary phrasings like ‘keep further breakage contained’ and ‘bodily harm’, substituting them with the simple verb ‘to prevent’, and unambiguous words such as ‘more damage’ to the equipment, and ‘possible injuries’ to the user for a more concise sentence construction.

 

RULE: 1.6 Use a Technical Name only as a noun, not as a verb.

2a) Standard English:

Lay overlapping strips of clear packing tape over the iPhone’s display until the whole face is covered.

2b) STE:

Make a cover for the full display glass area with overlapping strips of clear tape.

Analysis:

‘Cover’ is a non-approved verb in STE. Instead, use ‘cover’ as a technical noun. In this sentence pair above, we removed redundant words like ‘lay’, ‘over’, and ‘until’. The result is a concise, more direct sentence for the reader to complete his task more quickly and efficiently.

 

RULE: 1.3 Keep to the approved meaning of a word in the Dictionary. Do not use the word with any other meaning.

3a) Standard English:

This will keep glass shards contained and provide structural integrity when prying and lifting the display.

3b) STE:

This will keep glass shards together and give structural integrity when you move the display.

Analysis:

The STE verb ‘contain’ is defined as to have in something or to hold in something. The approved STE adverb ‘together’ appears simpler in meaning and more accurately describes the situation.

‘Provide’ as an unapproved STE verb is replaced with ‘give’, a shorter and more direct alternative.

‘Prying’ and ‘lifting’ can easily be described as ‘to move’. We hardly need to go into detail yet about prying and lifting as we risk confusing the reader at this point in time. Also, the –ing form or present participle verb form is not used in STE unless it is part of a technical name. For instance: lighting, missing, servicing.

 

RULE: 1.3 Keep to the approved meaning of a word in the Dictionary. Do not use the word with any other meaning.

4a) Standard English:

Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from any glass shaken free during the repair.

4b) STE:

Use safety glasses for eye protection during the repair. 

Analysis:

‘Wear’ is defined as the action of becoming damaged as a result of friction. For other possibly valid meanings of ‘wear’, STE prefers the verbs ‘use’ or ‘put on’ safety glasses.

Further reading: Dozuki Workshop Series – Optimize your technical content (Part 2 of 3)


Shumin Chen

About the speaker

Since 2006, Ms Shumin Chen has been working as a consultant with customers in various industries worldwide: aerospace and defence, banking, consumer products, healthcare, IT, medical and fitness equipment. She has helped many companies with their documentation needs, based on standards where possible, and is widely regarded as a leading expert in ASD-STE100 Simplified Technical English training, aviation documentation and multilingual documentation.

Ms Chen now heads the ASD-STE100 training arm of Shufrans TechDocs. In her current role, Ms Chen continues to focus on the practical implementation of international standards to facilitate the efficient creation and management of multilingual documentation.

Copyright © 2016 Shufrans TechDocs. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means whatsoever without express written permission from the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. 

Sounds interesting?

For a list of STE approved and non-approved verbs, drop us a line!

Request for the STE verbs list

 

International Standards at Shufrans TechDocs

International Standards at Shufrans TechDocs

Safety starts with quality. The best product is only as good as its documentation and technical data allow the customer to make optimum use of it. Formerly known as Simplified English, Simplified Technical English (STE) is an international standard (ASD-STE100) that helps to make technical documentation easy to understand.
Simplified Technical English standardises vocabulary, grammar and style, while letting users control their specific terminology.

Although Simplified Technical English originates from the aerospace and defence industries, it can easily be customised and applied to any other industry.

Using guidelines from the ASD-STE100 specification, writers and editors can take document clarity and consistency to the next level. Text written in Simplified Technical English shows improved readability and translatability. These benefits should not be overlooked as products and their accompanying documentation are increasingly shipped to many countries worldwide where English is not the main language used. Consequently, whether the majority of your audience is made up of native or non-native speakers of the English language, getting your message across clearly becomes faster and easier.

Text based on Simplified Technical English is also cheaper and faster to translate. Users of your documentation will benefit from higher translation quality, and mistranslations become less of a concern.
Injuries, losses and costly legal liabilities can happen as a result of unclear documentation and ambiguous translations. Simplified Technical English is based on standardised terminology and simple grammar rules. Consistent terminology facilitates your task of indexing and helps users to find pertinent information faster by eliminating unnecessary synonyms and spelling variants.

 

Different industries, one technical language?

Different industries, one technical language?

Given the success of Simplified Technical English (STE) and its adaptability, it was over time applied to various document types, and increasingly also in other (mainly technical) industries. In the aerospace and defence industries, safety, efficiency and readability are the main considerations for the use of STE. In many other industries, such as machinery, automotive, electronics, IT and medical equipment, another important consideration is to save on translation cost without compromising on translation quality.

 

Simplified Technical English (STE) rules describe sound writing practices

STE is an aerospace standard, or at least it started off as an aerospace standard. That having been said, out of those 65 writing rules, I couldn’t name a single one that is aerospace-specific. Take these STE rules for example:

  1. Do not make long sentences (maximum 20 words for procedures, 25 words for descriptive text).
  2. Do not use clusters of more than 3 nouns.
  3. Only use simple verb tenses.
  4. When you give an instruction, use the imperative/command form of the verb.

Well, most of us will have seen this kind of rules. We don’t like long sentences and Simplified Technical English tells us that for procedures or tasks there should be no more than 20 words in one sentence. For descriptive text we are allowed some more flexibility, and we need that, we have up to 25 words. Also English is a rather problematic language in that it allows us to just put any number of nouns into a cluster, and this makes it very difficult at times to see the relationship between the nouns in those clusters. For example ‘left engine switch’ can already be confusing, and difficult to understand, difficult to accurately translate.

If I say ‘left engine switch’, does that mean it is the switch for the left engine, or is it the left switch for a specific engine? So, do ‘left’ and ‘switch’ or ‘left’ and ‘engine’ belong together most directly?

In this case, the use of prepositions such as ‘of’, or ‘for’ will help to clarify this. Take the example of the ‘runway light connection resistance calibration‘. While it is common to see noun clusters made from several words  in technical language, clusters that are too long will mean that your reader has to make his way through four modifying words to reach the main noun.

For technical writing professionals who are considering the option of implementing Simplified Technical English (STE) in their organisation, you now see that many of the STE writing principles are very valid for all technical documentation purposes.

 

One STE rule that can transform your technical writing skills

One valuable STE rule is the rule that I would consider the most important one: Only use approved words. This is where Simplified Technical English becomes really different from corporate style guides. Why? Because the STE language standard includes a core vocabulary (or general dictionary) of around 930 words that will let you write just about everything that you need for technical documentation, even for procedural information in general.

We find that roughly 95% of the words in the STE general dictionary can be easily adapted even for general banking, like financial aspects of banking information. The set-up of the STE standard is such that you can very easily adapt the STE to suit and cover your specific needs. It mainly entails additions to the dictionary which are customarily made, even for aerospace customers. Because even within aerospace, there is a lot of variation when it comes to vocabulary, terminology, especially when dealing with different systems on board an aircraft.

ASD-STE100-coffee-machine

As a very simple example, one of our customers actually makes coffee machines. Now coffee machines seem to have nothing to do with aircraft. However, I think 98% of passenger aircraft actually have coffee machines on board, and they need their documentation in Simplified Technical English.

Now if this coffee machine happens to be in an office, or in a medical practitioner’s practice, or in a cafeteria, would it really require documentation that is all that different from the documentation on board an aircraft? No.. If anything at all, we just restrict the rules a little bit less. Aerospace tends to be a little bit more restrictive, we just relax the rules a little bit for other industries.

 

Copyright © 2016 Shufrans TechDocs. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means whatsoever without express written permission from the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. 

Are you ready to make STE your strategic partner?

Attend a 2-day certified ASD-STE100 workshop at any of our worldwide locations
How ASD-STE100 Simplified Technical English can help you save time and cost

How ASD-STE100 Simplified Technical English can help you save time and cost

STVY (Finnish STC) article on ASD-STE100 Simplified Technical English by Dr. Frans Wijma. Nakyma-STE-article

First published in Suomen teknisen viestinnän yhdistys ry. • The Finnish Technical Communications Society • Näkymä Joulukuu/December 2012

Rules regulate the choice and use of words, building phrases and sentences, the use of articles, the verb tenses that can be used and (to some extent) the punctuation. Some of the rules are specific to procedural or to descriptive text. Part of the rules is generally known to professional communicators, but the overall set is in general rather nicely balanced while going beyond most corporate and general style guides..

 

 

Future-proof your technical English writing skills

Future-proof your technical English writing skills

In this year’s economic slowdown, training budgets are often the first to shrink, if not, put on hold, as companies try to reduce costs in all areas. Unfortunately, businesses also start to see a direct impact on their level of competitiveness and overall success when they do not continue to invest in employee training.

Thankfully, many quality assurance (QA) managers know about the importance of documentation and the importance of standards to support their documentation.

QA managers recognise that to continue to deliver high quality services and products to their customers, their companies cannot stop investing in competence development to improve their employees’ skills, knowledge and career confidence. Motivated employees suggest a more promising outlook for any business’ future.

Reasons for acquiring Simplified Technical English (STE) writing skills as a professional asset

English happens to be a very rich language, meaning that, amongst other things, it has a huge vocabulary.

English has about three times as many words as French or German. However, in French or German you can say just the same things that you can say in English.

This implies that English has redundant or ambiguous words. Also, English grammar is a problem even for most native English speakers, and it can be highly confusing especially to people who speak English as a second language. Therefore, we want to try and do away with this huge, unnecessary part of the vocabulary, and we want to simplify grammar to what is essential to getting our message across.

Keeping your technical content concise yet precise – the basic principles of STE

1) Only use one word for one function, procedure or object.

2) Use each word in the ASD-STE100 dictionary based on its defined meaning and specific part of speech only.

3)Write only one instruction per sentence.

Most importantly, Simplified English is unique because this is a very balanced, and rather complete set of rules. It was not based on the personal preferences of just one or two people, but a whole committee that has developed this standard.

Working with great partners from all over the world to bring you high quality training workshop events

Certified STE workshops Spring 2016

Organised in collaboration with partners in Holland, Germany, Austria, India and Russia, our global Simplified Technical English (STE) workshops deliver high-quality training content that allows participants to create technical content in STE with great ease and 100% confidence.

Training offers in spring

Our STE training workshops equip technical communication professionals with the skills and confidence to create user-friendly and readable technical documentation, making it easier to translate, or doing away with the need for translations altogether. Refer to our STE training schedule below:

  1. Singapore, 3 – 4 March 2016
  2. Hyderabad & Bangalore, India, 10 – 15 March 2016
  3. Berlin, Germany, 4 – 5 April 2016
  4. Tiel, the Netherlands, 21 – 22 April 2016
  5. Helsinki, Finland, 9 – 10 May 2016
  6. St Petersburg, Russia, 19 – 20 May 2016

For more information on Shufrans’ training courses, please refer to our training page. Shufrans also offers customised ASD-STE100 training solutions that are tailored to meet your specific business requirements. These training workshops are usually conducted on-site at the customer’s premises or at our offices in Singapore.

To register for one of our open STE training classes, call +65 9777 4730 or email register@shufrans-techdocs.com.

 

Copyright © 2016 Shufrans TechDocs. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means whatsoever without express written permission from the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. 

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