RE: [sc] Managing standard compliance

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Date: Wed 29 May 2002 - 17:20:42 BST

While I understand Felix's point, we need to bear in mind that not everyone
using this list necessarily has English as their native tongue.  Although
Larry's e-mail address was a UK one, his name suggests that he may not
necessarily be of British ancestry.  I would be very worried about my
ability to communicate the intricacies of safety-critical systems in a
language other than that in which I have been educated (and there are those
who might from time to time criticise our ability to communicate even in our
native language).  I agree with Felix that a fairly detailed knowledge of a
language is important to avoid being misunderstood, and that language
training may be a necessary adjunct to the technical training if
universities are to continue the long tradition of sharing their knowledge
with students from overseas, but I do feel that we ought to try to make some
allowances for those trying to communicate in our language.  Engineers from
overseas often have to make extra efforts in putting up with
English-speaking engineers trying to communicate very poorly in other
languages, and in general the standard of English used by those from
overseas is significantly better than the standard of a foreign language
spoken by a Briton.

Felix is correct that clear communication is vital in our business.  We
often have communication difficulties even when we are all using one native
language;  the difficulties are obviously increased when  additional
language barriers are introduced.

David Biddulph

-----Original Message-----
From: Felix.Redmill(at) [mailto:Felix.Redmill(at)]
Sent: 29 May 2002 16:34
To: safety-critical(at)
Subject: Re: [sc] Managing standard compliance

Is this standard of English acceptable in the safety-critical systems
community? Or at all? It demonstrates, in the first place, bad work, and,
in the second place, no checking. Both of these, coupled with the casual
attitude that they imply, are dangerous always and particularly dangerous
in a safety-critical context. In the last couple of years I have received
several messages from students seeking such help, and in no case, as far as
I recall, has attention been paid to the correctness of language.

Specification of requirements, safety and non-safety alike, all depend on
the use of correct language. Courtesy and professional deportment depend on

If there are any on this list who teach such students, why not impress on
them that communication matters? You might also mention the matter of
courtesy and the practical issue of wording a request with the best chance
of obtaining a favourable reply. Engineering relies heavily on
communication, and communication relies entirely on language.


>Dear all,
>I am currently doing a research those emphases to provide support for
>managing project compliance with industry standard at process level. We
>are currently evaluating the system using IEC 61508 standard.
>Could anyone out there can point me where I can find out the current
>technology (both methodology and software tool) that provide support in
>managing compliance (with any standards are welcome).
>Many thanks,

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