Tag Archives: NATO

Stanag6001 exams equivalents

Exams equivalents

A writer must write concise sentences. Avoid wordiness and redundancies in your papers.– Hi, I have passed Stanag6001 exam on level 3!
– OK, so what level is it exactly? Is it CAE equivalent?
– Hmm, I don’t know…

Did you happen to have similar conversation with your colleagues? Sooner or later you would. And then: “Houston, we’ve got a problem!” What is obvious for the military personnel, it might not be for the civilians. Let’s analyze the military exams equivalents, available on the market.

International classification of language levels

European Union has set up some language proficiency standards. The scale of your proficiency is organized in a table know as Common European Framework of Reference for Languages shortly called CEFR. This internationally recognizable scale distinguishes Continue reading “Stanag6001 exams equivalents” »

Lingua franca – AAP-6

Lingua franca in NATO

The need for “the same language” spoken within NATO was identified immediately after creation of this international entity. Lessons learnt during WWII led the Alliance to create offices solely devoted to development of the proper terminology, internationally recognized and understood. The first body to deal with the terminology standardization was the Military Agency for Standardization (MAS) established in London in January 1951. Through the transformation process it achieved

NATO glossary of terms and definitions. Original version is both in English and French. Poland has its own version too.

AAP-6 – NATO glossary of terms and definitions

its current state, where the responsibility for the co-ordination of standardization activities within NATO was delegated to the NATO Standardization Agency (NSA), with its charter approved in August 20011.

Even with the concept of standardization having been widely approved at the beginning of NATO existence, it took four decades to develop proper mechanisms for new terminology management. Previously, different NATO offices very often created documents containing lexical inconsistencies, therefore the need for creation of supervising body was identified and The NATO Terminology Office (NTO) was brought to life. That is how NTO explains the reasons for this recent initiative:

NATO has long recognized the need for its members and partners to be able to communicate clearly and unambiguously with each other, since misunderstandings in its political and military activities can lead to inefficiency and may even have more serious consequences.

Almost right from NATO’s establishment in 1949, many of its specialist communities (“senior committees” or “tasking authorities”) considered it worthwhile to lay down their terminology in all manner of lists, lexicons, glossaries, dictionaries, etc. Unfortunately, there was little consistency among the terminology adopted in this way or coordination among the bodies concerned. Continue reading “Lingua franca – AAP-6” »

Different teaching standards

Today, some more thoughts about different approaches to military language courses and exams.

Since STANAG6001 does not enforce any criteria, nor standards in teaching, the military in each country have developed their own way of reaching the given language proficiency. All countries have developed centralized language education centres which provide the military students with full-time courses in a given facility. Some others offer on-line courses and mobile teaching teams as well.

In Poland, teaching foreign languages was strictly regulated by Minister’s of National Defence Decision #501/MON, dated 29th of December, 2010. According to this document only several military-owned language centres can organize language courses and exams. In particular situations, where education in the centres is not possible (e.g. too many or too few candidates), military units can Continue reading “Different teaching standards” »

Military abbreviations

Military abbreviations – basic rules

Recently, I have worked at some military exercise prepared mainly by the Polish personnel. Although there were some American native speakers involved in the exercise preparation, some linguistic mistakes and minor errors could be found in the source documents. Even when I ignored some typos, there still were many occurrences of mistakes I could analyse from the point of view of linguist. That is how I collected interesting materials for my thesis on translation mistakes. Here are my observations on the usage of military abbreviations.

Soldiers love acronyms

The most striking feature of the texts I had opportunity to work on, was a poor handling of the abbreviations. It goes without saying that the military community loves abbreviations but few users can really manage to introduce them in a proper way. Here are the main sins of the military users of English.

Plural nouns in the abbreviations

First of all, the ubiquitous apostrophe tends to appear in any plural form of the nouns it abbreviates, e.g. “SOTG’s“. Since the apostrophe here does not indicate genetive relationship, all the author had to do was to omit the apostrophe. “SOTGS” is not the proper form either since it suggests that a letter “S” is a part of the expression being abbreviated, not the plural form indicator. To make the acronym comprehensible and unambiguous it should read “SOTGs.”

The proper article

Any abbreviation not standing for a proper name or the unique phenomenon should be preceded by the article matching the initial sound not the initial character. That is why such abbreviations as EOD, IED, etc. require “an” at the beginning. For the same reason such an abbreviation as UAV requires “a“.

Usage of capital letters

If we use only capital letters to create any abbreviation, at the same time we limit our chances to make the readers guess what expression we are trying to code. If you know two meanings of “POL” (Petrol Oil Lubricants vs. Pattern of Life), the abbreviation written as above, may convey both meanings. The context will decide what meaning should be the right one in a given situation. But if we write it as “PoL” we can eliminate the logistic context immediately, suggesting that “o” stands for a preposition, which makes “Pattern of Life” the only possible option here.

Thousands of acronyms and abbreviations make the soldier’s life hard enough. Do not make it harder by creating or just using existing abbreviations in a careless manner. If you follow these simple rules, any document will be more clear, even to a rookie.

You can find thousands of military abbreviations and acronyms in one file here.

NATO training centres

Education in NATO

Recently I have searched for some specific information on the NATO approach to education of the military personnel. NATO-founded and NATO-sponsored centres of education are nothing new in the history of the Alliance but the recent boom in the training facilities deserves special emphasis. With the multiple Centres of Excellence (COE), these already being operational and those in development, NATO sets up a new standard for international education of the military-related personnel. NATO decided to depart from the concept of NATO-founded and NATO-sponsored facilities and adopted the idea of nationally founded but NATO-accredited centres. Since it is a relatively new idea of the allies it is hard to find any summary or the assessment of the performance of the COEs.

In my search for a summary of educational effort within NATO I was unsuccessful to find any statistics in function of time which would gather all educational (and transformational) NATO effort in one simple chart, report, table, etc. That kind of summary was exactly what I needed for the paper I was working on. So I surfed through different official websites and gathered all information I needed in one table you can see below. Continue reading “NATO training centres” »