Simplified Technical English: improving the readability and translatability of technical texts
Patricia María Ferreira, Grosseto, Italy
I would like to speak about the latest issue of the Simplified Technical English (STE) specification: an international specification for the preparation of technical documentation in a controlled language, created by the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe.
The main purpose of my presentation is to raise awareness of the need to simplify technical documentation and ensure that both native and non-native English readers fully understand it and can carry out any instructions properly and confidently. When STE rules are applied to the writing process, the resulting technical text is easier to read and understand (readability) and at the same time easier to translate (translatability).
More broadly, STE principles can be applied to the creation of almost any type of text, not just technical manuals.
The basic philosophy of STE is to keep texts as simple and readable as possible. It is important for technical translators and writers to become acquainted with STE because it can greatly improve the readability of technical English texts. STE can be an excellent asset to the writing process, to ensure that the result is a clear, concise, ambiguity-free text that is easier to understand and translate.
The first part of the presentation will include an overview of the history of STE, who uses it, and what’s new in Issue 7. In the second part I will explain the main rules with practical examples. I will then give information on how to get the STE specification and where to find STE courses. During the Q&A session after the presentation, we could explore new ways to make use of controlled languages to improve the readability of the texts we create or translate.
Learning a controlled language can be useful for both technical writers and translators. And reflecting on how to make a text easier to read, understand, and translate is something that should interest all linguists. I’m persuaded that the qualified audience attending this conference will be able to find lots of “food for thought” in this presentation.
In addition, when returning home after this presentation, attendees can decide either to pursue a course on STE or to obtain the STE specification and familiarize themselves with STE rules on their own. Translators and editors may then create a new income stream by offering STE advisory and STE rewriting services.
Patricia María Ferreira was born in Uruguay and has been living in Italy since 1990. She holds a degree in English<>Spanish translation from the University of the Republic of Uruguay. In Italy, she ran her own translation company for seven years (1996–2003). Then she spent ten years at the Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance Department of Johnson & Johnson Medical (2003–2013). In May 2013, she decided to return to freelancing and she is currently a freelance medical and technical EN<>ES<>IT translator. In 2016, she translated more than 300K words. She is a member of MET, ASETRAD, TREMÉDICA, ITI and CTPU, and a ProZ Moderator and Certified PRO (EN>IT).