Error Typology and Remediation Strategies for Requirements Written in English by Non-Native Speakers

LREC 2016  ·  Marie Garnier, Patrick Saint-Dizier ·

In most international industries, English is the main language of communication for technical documents. These documents are designed to be as unambiguous as possible for their users. For international industries based in non-English speaking countries, the professionals in charge of writing requirements are often non-native speakers of English, who rarely receive adequate training in the use of English for this task. As a result, requirements can contain a relatively large diversity of lexical and grammatical errors, which are not eliminated by the use of guidelines from controlled languages. This article investigates the distribution of errors in a corpus of requirements written in English by native speakers of French. Errors are defined on the basis of grammaticality and acceptability principles, and classified using comparable categories. Results show a high proportion of errors in the Noun Phrase, notably through modifier stacking, and errors consistent with simplification strategies. Comparisons with similar corpora in other genres reveal the specificity of the distribution of errors in requirements. This research also introduces possible applied uses, in the form of strategies for the automatic detection of errors, and in-person training provided by certification boards in requirements authoring.

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