Advantages and disadvantages with Simplified Technical English : to be used in technical documentation by Swedish export companies

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Institutionen för datavetenskap

Abstract: Understanding technical documentation is of vital importance, since instructions and descriptions are given about how technical products are used, maintained and repaired. Because of the increased economic globalization, more and more documentation is both written in English by non-native English writers, and delivered to non-native English readers. More and more documentation is also translated by means of computerized aids. In order to improve comprehension and translatability of technical documentation, controlled languages are created. Controlled languages are subsets of ordinary languages, but with restricted vocabularies and writing rules. The aim of this report is to discuss the advantages and disadvantages for Swedish export companies to use Simplified Technical English (STE), which is a controlled language, for their technical documentation. In this work technical writers are asked about their opinions of STE. Additionally, technical texts written in traditional English are compared with versions written in STE, in order to find out whether texts written in a controlled language are easier to read or not. Within the comparison, the differences between the versions are discussed and a readability measurement is done. The measurement showed that readability in technical documentation is improved by using STE. The writers’ opinions are illuminated in three areas, which are: higher documentation quality, reduced translation costs and reduced production costs.

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