March 2021 – TCUK online with Chair of IPLF

Date & Time: Thursday 18 March, 13:00-14:00 GMT.
View the event announcement in your time zone.

We are very pleased to announce that Vera Gergely, the Chair of the International Plain Language Federation (IPLF), is going to be joining us for our March TCUK online.

If you’re not sure what plain language is, the chances are you’ll immediately recognise it when you hear about it. We’re very excited to have Vera come and speak.

In 2014 Vera embarked on the ambitious task of introducing plain language in Hungary. Since then, they have worked as a freelancer, offering plain language editing and training to companies. Vera also wrote a comprehensive guide on how to write clearly in Hungarian.

Vera also leads the Drafting Committee of the ISO Working Group for international plain language standards, is the chair of the International Plain language Federation, and a Board member of PLAIN (Plain Language Association International).

Send an email to istc@istc.org.uk to receive the link to the event.

January 2021 – TCUK online

The ISTC’s monthly events continue in the new year with a presentation by Mike Unwalla. Contact istc@istc.org.uk to attend.

1pm-2pm GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2021
“Simplified Technical English”

About the presentation
Human failures cause accidents. A typical cause of human failure is unclear instructions. ASD-STE100 Simplified Technical English (STE) helps to make instructions clear, and thus STE decreases the risk of human failure.

Standard English can be difficult for people who read English as a second language. Phrasal verbs (multi-word verbs) such as ‘carry out’, ‘put up with’, and ‘work out’ are a special problem. STE helps to make text clear to people who read English as a second language.

STE is a controlled language. This presentation gives examples of rules from STE. The examples show how STE makes text as clear as possible.

The implementation of STE in an organization is not easy. The implementation must include terminology management. Input from subject-matter experts is necessary. Possibly, technical communicators will resist the use of STE, because they do not like to conform to a controlled language. Technical communicators must be trained to write STE.

You can read most of what I will say in ‘The case for ASD-STE100 Simplified Technical English’ in ‘Current Practices and Trends in Technical and Professional Communication’ (https://istc.org.uk/homepage/publications-and-resources/istc-books/current-practices-and-trends-in-technical-and-professional-communication/). Come to this presentation ready to ask questions, argue, disagree, and discuss. Thank you.

About MikeMike Unwalla
Many years ago, Mike taught English as a foreign language. Now, he is a freelance technical writer. At the ISTC conference (now TCUK) in 2001, someone showed him a software checker for AECMA Simplified English, which is now ASD-STE10 Simplified Technical English (STE) (www.asd-ste100.org). Since then, he has been interested in STE. He was a temporary UK representative of the Simplified Technical English Maintenance Group (STEMG) at the May 2019 meeting. He is a member of the UK Simplified Technical English Working Group.

December 2020 – TCUK online

Our 2nd TCUK Online event is on Wednesday Dec 9th 2020 – 13:00-14:00
Contact istc@istc.org.uk to receive details to attend.

5 To Midnight: even more of a last-minute rush
(Note: This is an update and refresh of David’s 2019 Ten to Midnight presentation)

Session abstract:
Documentation is often written right before the midnight deadline. It’s a classic release-based documentation problem: we think we can’t start to write content until the software is stable, tested and ready for release. But that’s the worst time to access SMEs, do the research, and write good-quality content. We write in a rush, or we release documentation late. It’s a lose-lose scenario for both writers and readers.
However, if we look at practices in code development, we see that “Continuous Integration” (CI) and “Continuous Delivery” (CD) is increasingly being used to solve a similar problem in software, combined with a “Shift left” approach. David will describe how he is adopting a CI/CD solution for documentation, and how you can apply a similar solution yourselves, by both “shifting down” to turn everyone into writers, and by “shifting left” to write documentation earlier.

Professional biography:
David is the Information Architect at Snyk, a software company selling developer-first tools based around the Snyk platform.
David has worked in technical communications for nearly 30 years, including information architecture, technical writing and content development, working on a range of documentation: from product descriptions, to user guides, to detailed API documentation. David has worked for multiple companies in the software sector, including ServiceNow and White Clarke Group.