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Four Candles - What is Simplfied Technical English
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Four Candles - What is Simplfied Technical English


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Presentation to Austin regional STC meeting - 5th Feb, 2008

Presentation to Austin regional STC meeting - 5th Feb, 2008

Published in: Business, Technology

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  • 1. © 4J’s Group LLC - 2008 FOUR CANDLES What is Simplified Technical English ? Austin Region STC Tuesday, 5 th February, 2008 Alan J. Porter 4J’s Group LLC
  • 2. © 4J’s Group LLC - 2008 Follow this simple instruction… Round the round flange until it spins round the round shaft. This is an actual example from an old aircraft repair manual.
  • 3. © 4J’s Group LLC - 2008 This one seems simple enough… Before working on the aircraft cut the electrical power. From an early Airbus A300 Service Manual
  • 4. © 4J’s Group LLC - 2008 SE and ME Working in aircraft industry Multi national projects Industry standard is English yet native speakers in minority. Technical and cultural jargon and syntax Writers who thought they were authors.
  • 5. © 4J’s Group LLC - 2008 SE and ME Ambiguity rules High support costs Legal implications We weren’t alone… Early “Simplified English” standards and training. Watching its wider adoption. Helping companies make the transition.
  • 6. © 4J’s Group LLC - 2008 So what is STE ?
    • Simplified English IS NOT “Simple English.”
    • Officially STE is
    • A defined dictionary of words – one word = one meaning
    • A set of rules for their usage.
    • I think of STE as
    • A philosophy
    • A mind set
    • Now it’s an international standard being adopted by all sorts of industries, governments and institutions.
    • STE is impacting you every day and you may not realize it.
  • 7. © 4J’s Group LLC - 2008 The Rules One word = one meaning. Make instructions as specific as possible Break up noun clusters with more than three nouns. Use the active voice. Defined dictionaries to suit the audience. One topic per sentence. One instruction per sentence. One paragraph, one subject. No more than 20 words a sentence No more that 6 sentences a paragraph. Start WARNINGS and CAUTIONS with a command.
  • 8. © 4J’s Group LLC - 2008 Adopting STE Its not about the rules It’s about the philosophy What’s the intent and goals of introducing STE. Don’t impose – educate and get buy in. Develop dictionaries – start from scratch or adopt existing ones? Get outside help you need the extra pair of eyes and the person who can ask “why?” Find tools to help. Training Be prepared for the “how do I say this” avalanche.
  • 9. © 4J’s Group LLC - 2008 The Benefits Readability and Understanding Improved consistency + improved quality. Brings an implied structure to your documents making transition to writing DITA or similar structured authoring easier. Makes Single Source publishing more efficient. Reduced support costs. Lower liability risks Reduced translation costs
  • 10. © 4J’s Group LLC - 2008 A Little Before and After… Round the round flange until it spins round the round shaft. With a file (Tool #) remove any excess material from the inside of the washer (1), until it freely rotates on the shaft (2). Before working on the aircraft cut the electrical power. WARNING: Disconnect the electrical power (Ref XX-YY-XX) before starting work.
  • 11. © 4J’s Group LLC - 2008 Conclusions
    • You can apply the philosophy of STE starting tomorrow morning and see immediate improvements.
    • It will take some educating but it will become second nature.
    • Switching to SE full time will save your company money in the long run.
    • It will certainly save frustrated customers .
    • It may even save lives.
  • 12. © 4J’s Group LLC - 2008 Contact details Alan J. Porter President 4J’s Group LLC [email_address] 512-968-7362 And now I’ll explain “bill hooks.”