What is a language checker?
A language checker is a software application that helps authors comply with a controlled-language specification. Examples of controlled languages include ASD Simplified Technical English, Attempto Controlled English, Caterpillar Technical English, Global English and the U.S. government's Plain Language specification.
The Boeing Simplified English Checker helps writers comply with ASD Simplified Technical English (STE), developed by the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe. ASD controls the Simplified Technical English standard, which is defined in Specification ASD-STE100, ASD Simplified Technical English: A Guide for the Preparation of Aircraft Maintenance Documentation in the International Aerospace Maintenance Language (often called the "STE Specification"). More information about the guide can be found at the ASD STEMG web site.
Does the BSEC automatically correct sentences? No. No language checker can guarantee full compliance with STE, because the goal of STE is clarity. Only human writers can judge whether a sentence or paragraph makes good sense. The BSEC is intended for use by writers who have been trained to write in Simplified Technical English. It notifies writers when they used unapproved vocabulary or grammatical constructions, and it supplies them with approved alternative expressions.
Why do you need a language checker? Writing in a controlled-language standard is difficult. It often forces writers to think differently about how they present information. Even the best writers forget which words are approved and what expressions to substitute for unapproved words. A checker supplements the writer's memory, and it promotes a higher level of accuracy and consistency in the workplace. Cost savings to the organization appear in the form of reduced cycle times and less need for revision.
Although ASD Simplified Technical English is designed for use in aerospace maintenance documentation, controlled languages can be created for other technical writing domains. Companies in several industries -- manufacturing, mining, oil exploration, software development -- have modified ASD Simplified Technical English or produced their own controlled-language writing standards.