9 Technical English Terms You Need to Know

conversational skills engineering technical english vocabulary Apr 25, 2022

Engineers are responsible for designing, developing and managing systems and products that meet our needs and improve our quality of life. As such, they need to be able to communicate effectively in both technical and non-technical contexts. To help engineers sharpen their business communication skills, I've put together a list of 9 terms used in English for engineers. And the list is super random ;-)


Learn 9 terms used in English for engineers

  • Modelling - Modelling is the process of creating a representation of something, typically using mathematical or computer-based techniques. In engineering, models are often used to simulate real-world systems so that engineers can test different designs before building them.
  • Simulation - Simulation is the process of creating a model of a real-world system and testing it under different conditions. In engineering, simulations are often used to test the performance of new designs before they are built.
  • Optimization - Optimization is the process of making a system or process as efficient as possible. In engineering, optimization techniques are often used to design better products or improve existing ones.
  • Quality assurance - Quality assurance guarantees that a product or system meets the required standards. In engineering, quality assurance is often used to ensure that products are safe and fit for use.
  • Project management - Project management is the process of planning, organising and executing a project. In engineering, project management is often used to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget.
  • Scrum - Scrum is a project management technique that is often used in software development. It is characterised by short sprints, or iterations, of work followed by regular reviews and retrospectives.
  • Addendum - An addendum is a supplement or an addition to a document. It may be used to modify or update existing documents, such as engineers' specifications, technical manuals, cost control estimates, and so on. The term addendum is often used in plural form in technical English, meaning "additions."  
  • Appendix - An appendix is a supplement to a document, usually containing information that is too detailed or too specialised for the main body of the text. In engineering,  appendices often contain data tables, drawings, and other reference material.
  • Analog - Analog refers to signals or devices that are continuous by nature. In electrical engineering, analogue signals can take on any value within a given range, as opposed to digital signals, which are limited to a finite number of values.


These are just a few of the terms that engineers commonly use. By familiarising yourself with these terms, you can improve your communication with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders. Now that you know these 9 English terms put them to good use in your next project meeting or presentation! But it shouldn't stop there: use these terms to start your own 'technical jargon masterlist'.


How to use these terms in your writing and conversations

When writing or talking to other engineers, it is important to use precise and accurate language. The following tips will help you use new vocabulary correctly.

1. Make sure you understand the meaning of each term before using it. If you're unsure what a term means, look it up in a dictionary or ask another engineer.

2. Use the terms in context. In other words, don't just drop them into your writing or conversation randomly. Make sure they make sense in the context of what you're saying. Using new vocabulary in context is also the best way to memorise it.

3. Be concise. Engineers are often expected to communicate complex ideas quickly and efficiently. Try to be as clear and straightforward as possible when using technical terms in your writing or meetings.


The following resources will help you learn more about the terms in this article and how to use them correctly:

1. Dictionary of Engineering Terms: This online dictionary includes definitions of many common engineering terms.

2. Improving Your Technical Communication Skills: This online course from yours truly, Olivia, offers you a weekly opportunity to train your effective technical communication.

3. Sign up for my newsletter: Get my best tips, tricks, and solutions straight into your inbox—a monthly(ish) no-nonsense newsletter designed to help engineers. And as a thank you, you'll get a 'cheat sheet' that I've created to help you save time when writing your next English email.


As you’ve read, there are a variety of terms that are specific to engineering. It’s essential to use these terms correctly and in the proper context so your readers (or conversation partners) will understand what you mean.

Do any of these tips help you to improve your English for engineers? Why not shoot me an email (info{at}marcode.org) and let me know what you think!?