Technical writing newsletter 33: October 2009

Document status: archived

International English

Translation and localization is expensive. At the Technical Communication UK 2009 conference (, Mike Unwalla explained that companies can use international English to decrease translation costs.

Quality of machine translation

To decrease translation costs, some companies use machine translation (automatic computer translation). If text is optimized for machine translation, machine translation gives satisfactory results. An English article was translated into Spanish by Google Translate. Professional translators evaluated the machine translation for fluency and for accuracy.


English is important for international business, but English is a complex language. Globish is a method of simplifying English to make English easy for non-native speakers. The general principle of Globish is good, but there are problems with Globish.

Interface design

Sometimes, documentation is necessary to explain how to use a badly-designed user interface. To help users, a better option is to make sure that the user interface is good. For a useful checklist and for examples of bad design, see

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