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Controlled English: Communicating Clearly to Global Audiences

STC France

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM (CEST)

Controlled English: Communicating Clearly to Global...

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As technical communicators, our role is to provide information clearly, concisely and without ambiguity.

Coming from the aviation industry, I have the advantage (as an Englishman) that English is the world-wide industry standard. However, in my talk I’d like to consider a few things such as:

  • More people in China speak English as a second language than the entire population of the UK.
  • Not all English mother-tongue speakers use the same language.
  • The world’s worst air disaster (in terms of lives lost – 583 dead) was due to miscommunication in English.
  • The evacuation of the ANA Boeing 787 at Logan airport, Boston MA had a miscommunication of English as one of its contributory factors.        

The problem is the richness of the English language, now with over 1,000,000 officially recognised words (yes, over one million). This provided Shakespeare with a wonderful platform to craft drama. But he wasn’t working on a safety-critical application!

Which brings us right back to the first point: as technical communicators, we must be clear, concise and unambiguous.  Use of Controlled English – of which ASD Simplified Technical English is perhaps the most formal form – provides a structured route to achieving this. We shall look at some examples of ambiguity and how to avoid it. We shall see some examples of software that helps us implement Controlled English. And we'll make recommendations for good practice.

Presenter: Gordon Dennis

Gordon DennisGordon Dennis has over 30 years IT industry experience, having held senior positions in US and Canadian Corporations as well as Director of European Marketing at Data General in the late 1980s. He originally qualified as an electronics engineer and has worked in hardware design, software development, marketing and sales. He has managed business and projects in many parts of the world and speaks conversational French. He was born in London and has lived in France and the US as well as the UK. He gives presentations and workshops on various technical and commercial subjects throughout Europe and speaks at many conferences each year.

He is acknowledged as an expert in XML and the Darwin Information Typing Architecture. He is cofounder of Koala, a British software development company specialising in managing technical information for the aerospace and aviation industries. Gordon is responsible for the commercial strategy of Koala, and has a passion for structured information.

Gordon holds a Flight Instructor rating on sailplanes and is also Chief Ground Instructor for Black Mountains Gliding Club Ltd.

Have questions about Controlled English: Communicating Clearly to Global Audiences? Contact STC France


Wednesday, July 31, 2013 from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM (CEST)

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STC France

Established in 1991, STC France is an international community of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) with a local focus in France, supporting technical communication professionals and students with networking opportunities, educational events, and career development resources.

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