The Embedded Bridge
Reduce your Development Costs
Did you know that it is possible to develop your products with a smaller budget? And that you can shorten your hardware/firmware integration efforts and reduce the number of respins to get your chips to work? Learn this and more in my Hardware/Firmware Interface Design workshop. My book is the textbook for the workshop.
I will be teaching a tutorial at DesignCon in Santa Clara, California. As always, if you will be there, let me know.
The Language Barrier
While living in Germany, I heard the following joke:
If you were born and raised in the United States speaking only one language, you might not appreciate the implications of this joke. This joke plays on the stereotype of the American who speaks only English and expects the rest of the world to speak English also. Unfortunately, there’s some truth to this stereotype: While many Americans speak more than one language, many more speak only English. In addition, the relative ease of finding English speakers in other countries has led too many American travelers to expect everyone to speak English.
On the other hand, because of America’s predominant role in worldwide hi-tech industries, English seems to be the de facto common language for embedded systems developers. English is used among native-English and non-native-English speakers, and even among people who all speak English as their non-native tongue. For example, while employed at HP, I saw two other HP employees, one German and one Japanese, talking to each other in English.
Several years ago, our team had to work with an embedded systems product designed and manufactured by a company in another country with a national language quite different from English. The product documentation was at least 50 pages long and written in English by a native of that country. Our team had a hard time understanding many parts of that documentation and engaged in several email exchanges—which also had to bridge the language barrier—to clarify the documentation. As difficult as it was for the native English speakers on our team to understand this documentation, it was even harder for the team members who spoke English as a second language.
In the hardware/firmware interface space, hardware teams produce documentation used by firmware teams. Either or both of those teams could be located outside of the US. Even in the US, members of those teams could include non-native-English speakers. This means it’s particularly important that the documentation should be readable and understandable by the non-native speakers. In other words, don’t write like this:
when all we’re trying to say is this:
If you have comments, pro or con, about this month’s topic, please send them to email@example.com. For training and consulting on this and many other bridge-building topics, visit www.garystringham.com/contact.
Until my next newsletter,
About The Embedded Bridge
The Embedded Bridge is a monthly newsletter containing best practices on improving the interface between hardware and firmware. Comments on the topic or suggestions for future topics are welcomed. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. The newsletter is a free service of Gary Stringham & Associates, LLC, www.garystringham.com, a firm providing consulting and training services to embedded systems engineers.
Feel free to forward this newsletter to your colleagues. To use this newsletter for commercial purposes, write to email@example.com for information.
Gary Stringham & Associates, LLC
PO Box 2443
Eagle, ID 83616
Copyright © 2011 by Gary Stringham & Associates, LLC. All Rights Reserved.