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With the support of the Prevention, Preparedness and Consequence Management of 
Terrorism and other Security­related Risks...
Structure of the presentation

•   The Problem
•   The Scientific Context
•   The Solution
•   Controlled Languages
•   Th...
The Problem:

• In 1998 – traffic accidents – 46% of children deaths

• Correct use of child seats – reduces fatal injurie...
The Problem:

•   Canary Islands, Tenerife North Airport
•   27 March 1977
•   Pan American World Airways, KLM
•   Human e...
How can we solve this problem?




          Make text simple.




                                 5
What does 'simple text' mean?

•   Familiar words
•   Short sentences
•   Simple syntax
•   Defined vocabulary
•   Unambig...
Scientific context:

• Psycholinguistic studies about text
  complexity for humans
• Text readability
• Human comprehensio...
A simple solution:

• In order to write clear instructions:

• Follow controlled language guidelines
  especially designed...
Definition of a 'Controlled language':

• Artificial restrictions specifying:

   •   the   compulsory elements of the tex...
Some Existing Controlled Languages:

•   Basic English
•   Simplified English AECMA
•   Caterpillar Fundamental English
• ...
MESSAGE Project:

• Partners:
  • Université de Franche-Comté, France
    (Coordinators),
  • University of Wolverhampton,...
MESSAGE Project results:

• Target group partners:
  •   Autoroutes-Trafic (France),
  •   French Air Force,
  •   Airbus ...
MESSAGE Project results:

• Controlled language guidelines for English (protocols,
  instructions, short messages and aler...
MESSAGE Project results:

• International Conference
  http://www.ismtcl.org
  • July 1-3, 2009
  • University of Franche-...
Some rules:

• Identify the logical elements of the text -
  e.g.
  “title”,“subtitle”,“conditions”,“consequence
  s”/”ins...
Some rules:

• Split the important information in smaller bits:
   • Example: every logical element a single sentence
   “...
Let's re-write a short text:

• If you suspect there is something
  embedded, take care not to press on the
  object. Inst...
Let's re-write a short text:
How to treat severe bleeding (write a short and clear title)


If you suspect there is someth...
Let's re-write a short text:

“If you suspect there is something embedded, take care not to press on the
    object. Inste...
Some more rules:

• Avoid:
   • 'garden path sentences':
       • Ex. The horse raced past the barn fell.
   • Too long se...
Some more rules:

• Avoid:
  • Using too many modifiers for the same noun:
     • Ex. "full emergency planning arrangement...
Some more rules:

• Use:
  • Only words known by the reader:
     • predefined if for specialists or familiar if for gener...
Screenshot of the leaflet




                            23
End of the presentation



 Further details at the conference and in the
                      leaflet.

        Any quest...
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Message training session_protocols_wolverhampton

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Message training session_protocols_wolverhampton

  1. 1. With the support of the Prevention, Preparedness and Consequence Management of  Terrorism and other Security­related Risks Programme  European Commission ­ Directorate­General Justice, Freedom and Security Introduction to Human Comprehension in Emergency Situations and Controlled Languages Irina Temnikova, Research group in Computational linguistics,  University of Wolverhampton, UK This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.  This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the  Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of  the information contained therein.  1
  2. 2. Structure of the presentation • The Problem • The Scientific Context • The Solution • Controlled Languages • The Project • The Results • Some rules • Example of how to re-write a text 2
  3. 3. The Problem: • In 1998 – traffic accidents – 46% of children deaths • Correct use of child seats – reduces fatal injuries by 71% • 79-94% of child seats are used improperly • 'Readability' of the instructions • (William H. DuBay. The Principles of Readability.) 3
  4. 4. The Problem: • Canary Islands, Tenerife North Airport • 27 March 1977 • Pan American World Airways, KLM • Human error due to misunderstanding • “we are at take-off” • 583 fatalities 4
  5. 5. How can we solve this problem? Make text simple. 5
  6. 6. What does 'simple text' mean? • Familiar words • Short sentences • Simple syntax • Defined vocabulary • Unambiguous statements • Concrete/abstract instructions • Active vs. passive • Positive vs. negative • No unclear abbreviations • etc. 6
  7. 7. Scientific context: • Psycholinguistic studies about text complexity for humans • Text readability • Human comprehension under stress • Crisis management • Making decisions in emergency management 7
  8. 8. A simple solution: • In order to write clear instructions: • Follow controlled language guidelines especially designed for the emergency- related domain. 8
  9. 9. Definition of a 'Controlled language': • Artificial restrictions specifying: • the compulsory elements of the text • the order of the logical sub-parts • the words allowed • the words disallowed • the word order • the syntactic structures allowed • the syntactic structures disallowed 9
  10. 10. Some Existing Controlled Languages: • Basic English • Simplified English AECMA • Caterpillar Fundamental English • EADS English - European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company • Plain English Campaign • Simplified Technical English - Saab Systems • Simplified Technical English - Rolls-Royce • Xerox Multilingual Customized English - Xerox • Ericsson English – Ericsson • Controlled Automotive Service Language - General Motors (GM) • Easy English – IBM, 1997 • International Service Language - Kodak • Avaya Controlled English • Sun Controlled English - Sun Microsystems • Scania Swedish – Scania, 1996 10
  11. 11. MESSAGE Project: • Partners: • Université de Franche-Comté, France (Coordinators), • University of Wolverhampton, UK, • Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain, • Uniwersytet Warszawski, Poland • Consists in: • Starting point: controlled language for French • developed in collaboration with the aircraft industry, the health profession and the emergency services. • Aim: transfer of the coordinators technology to English, Spanish and Polish + other EU languages 11
  12. 12. MESSAGE Project results: • Target group partners: • Autoroutes-Trafic (France), • French Air Force, • Airbus France, • Geophysists' cross-border comunication (Bulgaria), • National police (Spain), • Firefighters (Greece), • Centre for veterinary inspection (Poland) • 'Major risks' management unit - région Franche- Comté local council, • etc. 12
  13. 13. MESSAGE Project results: • Controlled language guidelines for English (protocols, instructions, short messages and alerts) • Developed on the basis of texts provided from Sandwell • Leaflet to be ready for the end of the project (September 2009) • Instructions how to develop a controlled language for a different language or different domain • http://message-project.univ-fcomte.fr • Network of trained linguists • Network of trained emergency management specialists 13
  14. 14. MESSAGE Project results: • International Conference http://www.ismtcl.org • July 1-3, 2009 • University of Franche-Comté • Besançon, France 14
  15. 15. Some rules: • Identify the logical elements of the text - e.g. “title”,“subtitle”,“conditions”,“consequence s”/”instructions”, “explanatory notes”,”lists of elements”,“additional information” • Example: • Because roads are likely to be impassable for automobiles in many areas because of damage, debris, or traffic, individuals should evacuate on foot. • Because roads are likely to be impassable for automobiles in many areas because of damage, debris, or traffic, (Condition/Explanation) individuals should evacuate on foot. (Instruction) 15
  16. 16. Some rules: • Split the important information in smaller bits: • Example: every logical element a single sentence “Evacuate on foot. Explanation: Because roads are likely to be impassable for automobiles in many areas because of damage, debris, or traffic.” or “If roads are impassable: Evacuate on foot.” • Divide coordinated sentences. • Divide subordinated sentences. 16
  17. 17. Let's re-write a short text: • If you suspect there is something embedded, take care not to press on the object. Instead press firmly on either side of the object and build up padding around it before bandaging to avoid putting pressure on the object itself. • (Passage, taken from www.redcross.org “How To treat severe bleeding”) 17
  18. 18. Let's re-write a short text: How to treat severe bleeding (write a short and clear title) If you suspect there is something embedded: (split the condition) Avoid pressing on the object. (indentation improves visibility and hierarchical ordering) (it is recommended to avoid using negation) Do the following actions simultaneously: ("and" can mean both simultaneity and consecutiveness. It would be good to disambiguate this "and". If it means consecutiveness, just list the two actions one after another. If "and" means simultaneity, you have to specify this.) Press firmly on either side of the embedded object. (avoid using pronouns as certain group of readers can't process them) Build up padding around the embedded object. (specify which concrete object you mean in order to avoid ambiguity) Explanation: In order to avoid putting pressure on the object itself. 18 Bandage the wound.
  19. 19. Let's re-write a short text: “If you suspect there is something embedded, take care not to press on the object. Instead press firmly on either side of the object and build up padding around it before bandaging to avoid putting pressure on the object itself.” How to treat severe bleeding If you suspect there is something embedded: Avoid pressing on the object. Do the following actions simultaneously: Press firmly on either side of the embedded object. Build up padding around the embedded object. Explanation: In order to avoid putting pressure on the object itself. Bandage the wound. 19
  20. 20. Some more rules: • Avoid: • 'garden path sentences': • Ex. The horse raced past the barn fell. • Too long sentences: • Ex. If you suspect there is something embedded, take care not to press on the object. Instead press firmly on either side of the object and build up padding around it before bandaging to avoid putting pressure on the object itself. • Ambiguous words : • Ex. At the crossing take the right turn. • Using different terms for the same concept: • Ex. building/place/location • place/home/your house • vehicle/car • go off/explode • Using the same term for different concepts. 20
  21. 21. Some more rules: • Avoid: • Using too many modifiers for the same noun: • Ex. "full emergency planning arrangements" • Omitting important words • Ex. "If you suspect (THAT) there is something embedded" • Using pronouns • Ex. “it” • Using passive • Ex. "Make sure 999 is called."->"Call 999." 21
  22. 22. Some more rules: • Use: • Only words known by the reader: • predefined if for specialists or familiar if for general population • Standard word order • except when you want to emphasize a particular word • Logical order of the actions: • "1. Go out. 2. Lock the doors." 22
  23. 23. Screenshot of the leaflet 23
  24. 24. End of the presentation Further details at the conference and in the leaflet. Any questions or suggestions? 24

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