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If instructions are not clear, people can die.

To make sure that instructions are as clear as possible, some companies use ASD Simplified Technical English (ASD-STE100). ASD-STE100 specifies the words and the grammar that are permitted in an instruction manual. For example, a technical writer must not use the verb 'to carry out' to mean 'to do'.

Unlike 'plain English', ASD-STE100 is a specification. Therefore, a technical writer can evaluate text for conformity to ASD-STE100. Manually evaluating text is difficult. Spelling checkers and grammar checkers are not sufficient. Software can help technical writers to conform to ASD-STE100. However, until now, that software was very expensive.

Now, new open-source software helps technical writers to evaluate text for conformity to ASD-STE100. Mike Unwalla from TechScribe explains the benefit of the new software. "When I try to conform to ASD-STE100, vocabulary is a large problem. For example, I...

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