Postscript Problems For Nonnative Speakers Of English

The IMRAD format is helpful for non-native speakers and writers, in the sense that anything that has a structure is easier to deal with than anything that has not. Unfortunately, it is more difficult for non-native speakers of English to read and to write in the appropriate style than it is for native speakers. Regrettably, methods of automatic translation have not yet progressed sufficiently for us to be able to turn scientific articles written in different languages into formal scientific English. Automated grammar and style checkers may help, but, in my experience, writers already need to have a good knowledge of grammar and style before they can judge the validity of many of the automated suggestions (Hartley et al, 2007).

In my view, non-native writers of English are best aided in their writing by working with native speakers of English in their own discipline. Native speakers are more aware of the subtleties and nuances that might escape their non-native English speaking colleagues. There is a case, therefore, for more international collaboration and assistance when authors with different nationalities are involved. Fortunately, such assistance is much easier today via email and the Internet.

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