Presented by Berry Braster at Documentation and Training Life Sciences, June 23-26, 2008 in Indianapolis.
Products and processes are becoming more complex, while companies worldwide increasingly have to deal with different languages.
Although technical documentation is predominantly written in English, it can often be difficult to understand due to its complexity: complex sentence structures, multiple meanings and synonyms easily result in confusion. In addition, many readers’ command of English can fall below the level of those who created the documentation, which especially applies to non-native English speakers.
For documents that have to be translated into other languages, one cannot expect the translation to be of great quality if the source file was ambiguous to begin with.
As a result, these are often the consequences:
* Confused and frustrated readers
* Safety risk
* Damage during operation or maintenance
* Liability claims
* High localization costs
* Unsatisfactory translations
* Higher training support costs
* Ineffective customer service
* Unanticipated costs as a result of miscommunication
In this context, clear and effective writing has become more important than ever before.
Simplified Technical English (also known as Controlled English) is a method of writing that makes technical English easy to understand. The use of Simplified Technical English stimulates (global) acceptance of technical documentation as it improves readability and prevents misunderstandings and misinterpretations.