February 1


What is Technical English?

By Gordon Gaffney

February 1, 2022

What is Technical English?

If you search for English courses on the internet, you will find hundreds of in-person and non-classroom options. There is a huge supply for this because the demand is just as high.

People want to learn English as a hobby, because they want to live or travel to a country where the English language will facilitate communication, etc.

It's easy to get lost and to choose an inefficient way to learn English. This is an even more serious problem when speaking using technical English. Therefore, in this article, we will answer the question what is technical English?

What is Technical English

Book by David Bonamy

By now you probably already know that English is essential for anyone aiming for a promising career, you might have read our article on this here. More and more companies in non-English speaking countries insist on requiring at least basic knowledge of the language.

The reason for this is that English is the most spoken language in the world, and countries where English is the official language have a strong influence on the world. In the day to day of the job market you deal with English terms all the time.

When you turn on your computer, you access the “desktop”. When you need to send documents to a company, you use “email” and so on.

What is Technical English and what difference does it make to your career

Technical English, known to some as Instrumental English, is the type of English used in a specific area of practice. For example, there is legal English, English for medicine, English for information technology, English for the office and so on.

In some areas, being fluent in English is not enough, you need specific knowledge. Think of medicine, it is a very delicated area where there is no room for error.

A doctor who wants to work in an English-speaking country or just consult books and other materials in English needs technical English, as confusing a word can have serious consequences.

Starting your journey to learn and master Technical English

If you are interested in learning technical English, this interest probably comes from a professional need. That is, your area of expertise requires this level of English knowledge.

So where exactly to start? The best way to start is by following the advice of someone in your area.

For example, a lawyer who needs to learn legal English simply should talk to people like their college professors, senior colleagues etc. They can ask them for guidance, they have probably already been through what you are going through and they already know the best courses, professors and institutions dedicated to the subject.

Learn technical English on your own or with courses?

With the popularisation of the internet, we have seen the emergence of online English courses. There are literally hundreds of them out there. Finding a great course can be more complicated than it looks, online or in person.

You can learn a lot of technical English on your own using static material. You may be wondering, what is static material? Static material is recorded classes, books, handouts and so on.

This type of material is only supplementary. To learn technical English, you can also study a dynamic course with a live teacher where you can test your learning over time.

Learn technical English by establishing your routine

To learn technical English it will be necessary to commit a few hours per week. So one of the things you need to do is start planning so that your classes can fit into your life and not get in the way.

For some this means that some sacrifices will be necessary. Maybe cutting back on family time, giving up social activities, etc. The important thing is to take learning seriously and not try to do other things anyway.

If you're the type who has a busy schedule and sleeps 5 or 6 hours a day, trying to fit your studies into a routine like this is a mistake.

For these cases, changes are necessary to help the learning process. Learning technical English is not an easy task and sacrificing your health for it is not productive.

You can check out our great guide on how to create a study routine in here.

Check your skills from time to time

One of the activities that will make a difference in your learning is to check your skills, that is, to do regular tests and exams. This is true not just for technical English, but for any other skill you are trying to master.

The problem is that not all courses offer tests and assessments, but you can easily find good ones. There are tests available online on most subjects and you can also ask the educational institution where you study for the tests of past classes.

That way you'll have all the material you need to put your skills to the test. But it's important not to charge yourself too much, and not to take advanced tests if you've just started.

Technical English by area

Technical English for Medicine

Medicine is one of the areas where English is essential. While fluent English is not necessarily mandatory for Brazilian health professionals, English for Medicine makes a difference.

For starters, English is the most used language in medical studies and research. Medical professional who master English will find it easier to keep up to date. Second, Brazil is an important tourist spot, thousands of foreigners come here annually, at least that's how it is when we're not in a pandemic.

Mastering English can make the difference between being able to perform a service or not. Finally, a medical professional has several options for international mobility, whether for work, study, residency or something similar. Having a good command of English will allow this to be a beneficial experience.

Technical English for the Business World

Now that we have the Internet, even small businesses can benefit from mastering Business English. From direct negotiations with foreign companies to contracting software as a service that will help with increasing production, mastery of Business English can result in a huge competitive advantage.

Business English is one of the most common forms of technical English. Here’s the challenge, there is a huge amount of information available, books, courses and so on. To really master Business English you need to be very selective about the material you use.

You can read my review of the business English books called “Market Leader” here.

Legal English

Legal English is similar to Medical English. There are numerous academic articles and books written in English that can help with your professional development. There are also numerous foreigners living in Brazil and other countries who may need legal advice.

And finally, there are possibilities for a professional in this area abroad.

Getting a work visa in English-speaking countries is far from an impossible task. Let's take into account the normal times, ignoring the pandemic we are going through at the moment, which has really messed up the travel process.

English for Information Technology

Information technology is the kind of industry where you don't get very far without mastering English. For starters, the main programming languages, Java, Python, etc. are developed in English.

English-speaking countries are prominent in the technology sector, we all know Silicon Valley, Apple, Microsoft etc. Therefore, there is no doubt that an information technology professional needs to master technical English not only to advance in their career, but to survive.

English in the office

Office English is not necessarily the same as Business English. It is a segment focussed on day-to-day activities in the business world.

It is ideal for secretaries and people who work supervising employees in the company, since often, when the employee does not speak English, they will turn to their supervisors.


Hopefully you now know enough about technical English, its importance, how to learn it and what the main types are. We haven't mention all the types of technical English that exist because that would take a lot of time, but you just need to know that there is specific technical English in many industries.

What is interesting is that over the years, English has become more and more important, and this is a trend that is apparently going to continue for years to come. So now that you're aware of this, it's time to take advantage of it and prepare accordingly.

If you're curious, you can discover the countries that speak English as a second language.

And you, what career would you like to pursue with the help of technical English?

Gordon Gaffney

About the author

Gordon is The Irish English Teacher, creator of this blog and many products to help all students learning English as a second language, but with a focus on Portuguese speakers.

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