Coolessay Blog

English for Technicians and Pilots


Why Do Technicians Need English?

There is a huge number of professions that fall under the general notion of "technical specialists". They are specific in each industry, and there are many options for such specialists: engineers, quality controllers, maintenance specialists, and so on.

Regardless of industry and specific specialty, English is necessary for everyone today. But here is why – let us look at an example of one of the most popular techno-intensive industries – automotive.

Let us start with the simple – what are we driving? If you look at the latest polls and statistics, more than 50% of the population drives the foreign cars. Then another question: how much do our homegrown "techies" orient themselves in the nuances of the structure and work of foreign cars? Most likely, only on an intuitive level. And what about the level of official detailed instructions to the machines themselves, individual spare parts and high-tech tools for their diagnosis during maintenance and repair?

We think that many of you have faced a situation where the problem with the car goes beyond the standard, and then the "techies" begins to suffer a serious headache. Unfortunately, in addition to individual official service stations for top brands, in all the others, experts who know English are extremely rare. Accordingly, when meeting, for example, with non-standard abbreviations, they are lost and cannot solve the problem.

How many of these abbreviations do you know? Naturally, there are dozens, if not hundred times as many, universal and used only by individual manufacturers. Remembering everything by heart is difficult. But quick finding the original meaning on the Internet without looking into special dictionaries requires knowledge of the language in which this abbreviation was invented.

Technical and Linguistic Justification

And this is only one side of the problem. A much more serious issue arises when the car and spare parts dealers deal with foreign counterparts, or the communications of local factories for the production of foreign brands cars with the parent structures and their quality control departments take place. Inability to express wishes in professional English of the one side and a lack of understanding of the answers and demands of another one regularly leads to problems.

There is a third nuance. There are many very talented technical inventors. Many of them do unique things, including those applicable to the automotive industry. For some of their inventions, the world's largest automakers would have given a very large sum of money – if they had been found out about them. Unfortunately, the problem is with the second one.

Our ingenious inventors do not know English sufficiently to:

  1. Start direct communication with representatives of large concerns;
  2. Regularly read the Western specialized press for new developments and directions of technical thought;
  3. Write about their own developments in such a press to so that they are noticed.

Hence follows the traditional reminder of the need to improve your skills, for example, by mastering the English language course for technical specialists, with the maximum concentration of material on the automotive industry. And new roads will open for you at once.

English for Dispatchers and Pilots

Empyreal Conversations

Suppose you know the English language perfectly – you can talk, read magazines and watch movies. But it is not a fact that your knowledge is enough to communicate ... in the sky.

Dispatchers and pilots also communicate in English, but try to listen in real time, for example, the airport of Amsterdam – it is a complete gibberish for the uninitiated! And you understand that you do not understand anything! And you were so proud of your level of English ...

And all because air traffic controllers and pilots use special phrases for communication. And an air traffic controller, for example, needs at least a fourth level of knowledge of English from the six existing (on the ICAO scale). After all, in aviation, communication is everything! Without exaggeration. And special generally accepted phrases are recognized to facilitate communication, because English is not native to all people.

Do not forget that all the negotiations are conducted over the radio, so a balanced rate of speech, loudness and clarity in pronunciation are extremely important.

According to the Air-Ground Communication Safety Study: Causes and Recommendations conducted by the Dutch National Laboratory (NPL), the most common problems in radiocommunication communication were:

  • The accent of the dispatcher (34%);
  • Speech speed (28%);
  • Distraction of the pilot's attention (25%) and pilot fatigue (20%).

And now imagine for a moment that everyone would try to convey information quickly, in a timely manner and in their own words ... Have you imagined it?

Are you interested in the topic? We suggest reading the online magazine of the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations (IFATCA) – The Controller or trying on the role of the controller, pilot in virtual aviation. Just to begin with, do not forget to take an English course for pilots and air traffic controllers.

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