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(Continued from page 1)

Certainly, from a literary viewpoint, the writing style is somewhat poor, for the very same reasons mentioned above. But when it comes to using a software manual, which do you prefer?

More suitable brightness levels may be achieved using the brightness and contrast settings and progressively increasing or decreasing the value of the brightness level of each separate color channel, namely Red, Green and Blue - or Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black - or that of the combined channels, which can be accessed by expanding the "picture" menu and selecting "brightness and contrast".

Or

To optimize the brightness and contrast level, go to "Picture/Brightness and contrast". In the dialog, select the channels - or combined channels - you want to adjust:

  • Red
  • Green
  • Blue
  • RGB

or,

  • Cyan
  • Magenta
  • Yellow
  • Black
  • CMYK

and modify progressively the channels' values.

As an user, which instructions would you rather follow?

(This is a bogus example, no a real manual excerpt, but I think it makes the point)

Simplified English is not only easier to grasp, but it is also shorter in size (In the above example, almost 30% shorter.) cutting down to the same degree the translation costs!

Controlled English

Simplified English is actually a basic form of Controlled English. The fundamental idea is pretty much the same. If you force in rules at the time of the writing, the documents will be easier to understand and consistency will increase. It was meant to create documents that could be then processed by machine translation.

At that time, machine translation was definitely not an option - and it still isn't - due to the complexity of human languages, passive forms, colloquialisms, metaphors, terminology... and it was clear that it wouldn't be within reach for a long time.

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