Controlled Language Software, Optimized for Small Organizations
“Controlled natural languages” are attempts to standardize complex, idiosyncratic languages like English. For example, the “Plain English” and “Plain Language” movements begun in the 1970s seek to eliminate jargon from government and legal writing to make writing more clear regardless of purpose and context.
Many companies have developed their own controlled languages for specialized purposes like technical documentation and marketing communications (e.g., Caterpillar Technical English and IBM's Easy English); and there are examples of entire industries pursuing the same goal (e.g., Simplified Technical English of the AeroSpace and Defense Industries of Europe).
Controlled languages can be an important part of standardizing organizational style, voice, grammar, and terminology while also optimizing content for reuse and for Search Engine Optimization. And as organizations have become more globalized, they can be critical for preparing writing that is directed at second language audiences or subjected to human or machine translation.
There are a handful of software products that can assist an organization with controlled language efforts, but for small- and medium-sized organizations with controlled language needs, existing products are 1) too specialized (focusing exclusively on a particular function, like style correction, or on a particular role, like marketing or technical documentation), and 2) too expensive, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
We are working to build an affordable, customizable solution to help small- and medium-sized organizations with automated control of language style, clarity, and translation readiness.
Award Agency: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Research Foundation
Date: 7/15/14 - 7/15/15
Award Agency: IdeAdvance Seed Fund, University of Wisconsin-Extension