about ste

About Simplified Technical English

Simplified Technical English is a controlled language and the most popular controlled language in the world. The AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD) owns and copyrights the STE Specification (ASD-STE100). They manage an STE Maintenance Group (STEMG) who update the specification.

The STE Specification gives information about STE in two parts:
 – the writing rules
 – the dictionary

The writing rules (part one) tell us how we use STE to write technical (or business) documents. It includes rules about grammar and style.

The dictionary (part two) gives us a list of controlled vocabulary as approved words. It also identifies unapproved words. The dictionary includes the words that are most frequently used in technical writing. The STE working group selected the approved words because they were simple and easy to recognise. In general, each word only has one meaning and was approved as only one part of speech.

STE is a controlled language

Do I need software?

STE training

The basic question from STE users: Do we need a software product to write in STE correctly?

The STEMG answer: NO. Software will not think in your place. Software does not replace the STE specification.

There are commercial companies who sell software products (such as grammar checkers and writing help) that support STE. STE users are free to use these products, bearing in mind that they cannot replace the specification. ASD, the STEMG, their representatives and companies they belong to do not endorse or certify “commercial
companies” or providers that sell their software products which they declare to be ASD-STE100 ″fully compliant.” These commercial companies or providers have not received any authorization to use the ASD logo, copyright or trademark of ASD-STE100 in their material.

Our top seven list

1  Words and their meanings

Use only approved words and their approved meanings. Do not use the same word with different meanings.

2  Part of speech

Use approved words from the dictionary only as the part of speech given. Do not use technical names as verbs.

3  Create your glossary

Build your glossary of approved technical names and technical verbs to give context to your writing.

4  Active not passive

Use only the active voice in procedural writing. Use the active voice as much as possible in descriptive writing.

5  Short and clear sentences

Write short and clear sentences. Use vertical lists for complex text. Do not omit words or use contractions.

Use a maximum of 20 words for procedural writing. Use a maximum of 25 words for descriptive sentences.

6  Connecting words and phrases

Give information gradually for descriptive writing. Use connecting words and phrases to connect sentences that contain related topics. Use pronouns and demonstrative adjectives to connect ideas in related sentences.

7  Safety instructions

Give clear and simple commands. Then give an explanation.

simplified technical english courses

More information

STE courses

For more information about STE, go to the ASD-STE100 STE Specification website.

The Simplified Technical English Working Group (STEMG) are an ASD working group who maintain the ASD-STE100. The STEMG consists of representatives from ASD member countries and non-ASD member countries. In addition, there are associate members representing the STE users (for example, airlines).

The ASD-STE100 is the source of information about STE on this site. The information on this site is reproduced as a reference to the ASD-STE100 Specification.


European Community Trade Mark No. 017966390 International Specification for the Preparation of Technical Documentation in a Controlled Language