What is Simplified Technical English (STE)
Simplified Technical English (STE), also known as ASD-STE100 is “an international specification for the preparation of maintenance documentation in a controlled language”. Simplified Technical English was developed to make technical documents easier to understand to people with very little English. Non-English speaking people should be able to understand documentation written in STE after only 60 hours of study. Simplified English uses a limited vocabulary (approximately 1,000 appproved words) and a set of writing rules. For example, “about” is used for “concerned with”. It cannot be used for “around” or “approximately”.
What are the advantages of using Simplified Technical English (STE)
The use of Simplified Technical English (STE) had many advantages both in terms of communication and in terms of cost. Below is a list of the main advantages:
- STE reduces the possibility of errors in maintenance procedures and therefore increases safety;
- STE increases the readability and comprehensibility within complex procedures;
- STE facilitates communication between partners whose first language is not English;
- STE helps reduce the cost of translation into other languages mainly due to its lower degree of ambiguity in certain languages.
Example of English adapted to Simplified Technical English (STE)
|Text in standard English
Follow the safety instructions when working on the valves.
All valves must be turned slowly in order to prevent strong steam jets which can damage both hose lines and components.
All valves must be closed manually.
Standing close to the valves when the system is under pressure is not recommended.
|Text in Simplified Technical English
Obey the safety instructions when you turn the valves.
Turn all valves slowly to prevent strong jets of steam.
Steam can damage hose lines and components.
Close all valves by hand.
Do not stay near the valves, if the system is pressurized.
How do I know if STE is right for my sector?
If more precision and less ambiguity are required and there is a need to improve the retrievability and reuse of information across the organisation, then the answer is likely to be yes. However, many other factors need to be taken into consideration, such as training, time to create glossaries, loss of nuance, difficulty in enforcing compliance, number of documents to be adapted and translated and size of the organisation.
– UK Council for Electronic Business: www.ukceb.org
– ASD STE Maintenance Group: www.asd-ste100.org
– Boeing: www.boeing.com
– Term Checker for STE: www.simplified-english.co.uk
– MaxIt Checker: www.smartny.com/maxit.htm