International Specification for the preparation of technical documentation in a controlled language

As an Associate Member of the Simplified Technical English Maintenance Group I help control, develop and maintain the ASD-STE100 specification.

The ASD-STE100 specification, also known as Simplified Technical English or STE, is an international specification for the preparation of technical documentation in a controlled language.
The Trademark is owned by ASD, the Association of Aerospace and Defence Industries of Europe.

STE is a controlled language which was developed in the early Eighties (as AECMA Simplified English) to help the users of English-language maintenance documentation understand what they read. It was initially applicable to commercial aviation. Subsequently, it became a requirement for Defence projects, including Land and Sea vehicles. Today, the success of STE is such that other industries use it beyond its intended purpose of maintenance documentation and outside the Aerospace and Defence domains.

STE addresses difficulties in English comprehension related to complex sentence structures, confusing word forms, and ambiguous vocabulary. Although STE was created to improve maintenance documentation, its principles can dramatically improve the reading quality of technical documentation in any industry. The advantages in the translation process are directly related to the reduced chance of risk and ambiguity. Furthermore, the limited variations within the text structure will help to populate a strong Translation Memory as this collects repeated strings of text and leverages on the previous translation, reducing the amount of post-editing required.

Complex technical instructions can be misunderstood and misunderstandings can lead to accidents. STE makes technical texts easy to understand by all readers and can be regarded as an important and valuable resource for technical writing to simplify the correct understanding of procedures and operational texts, remove linguistic barriers, and reduce Human Factors risks.

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