Accessible Technical Communication Tip: Clear Out Redundant Acronym Phrases for Screen Readers

Clearing redundant acronym phrases from your writing will help with translations of your writing and will improve accessibility when screen readers read the full spelled out meaning of an acronym for visually disabled users who would be puzzled hearing "machine machine".

A Redundant Acronym Phrase (RAP) ¹ is a phrase containing an acronym plus a descriptive word that, when the acronym is expanded, the phrase contains a redundancy. For example; ATM machine. ATM is an acronym for automated teller machine. When the phrase is expanded, ATM machine becomes "automated teller machine machine". Similarly, RAP phrase becomes "Redundant Acronym Phrase phrase".

The term RAP phrase was coined in 1985 and first appeared on the Internet in 1995 as a category in the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) game Chaos. This phenomenon was later described using other terms such as RAS syndrome (Redundant Acronym Syndrome syndrome), coined in 2001. A PNS syndrome (PIN Number Syndrome syndrome) becomes a "personal identification number number syndrome syndrome".

The following is a list of Redundant Acronym Phrases often used in technical communication.

Redundant Acronym Phrases

RAP phrases

The first column lists a RAP phrase (an acronym plus a descriptive word); the second column shows how the expanded acronym phrase is read by a screen reader.

RAP phrase Expanded phrase as read by a screen reader
RAP phrase Redundant Acronym Phrase phrase
RAS syndrome Redundant Acronym Syndrome syndrome
AC current Alternating Current current
ADD disorder Attention Deficit Disorder disorder
AFC conference American Football Conference conference
AIDS syndrome Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome syndrome
AM modulation Amplitude Modulation modulation
ARM mortgage Adjustable Rate Mortgage mortgage
ATC control Air Traffic Control control
ATM machine Automated Teller Machine machine
BBS system Bulletin Board System system
CD disc Compact Disc disc
CGA adapter Color Graphics Adapter adapter
COBOL language Common Business-Oriented Language language
CPI index Consumer Price Index index
CPU unit Central Processing Unit unit
CS/DS/ES/SS segment Code/Data/Extra/Stack Segment segment
DAT tape Digital Audio Tape tape
DC Comics Detective Comics Comics
DC current Direct Current current
DOS system Disk Operating System system
EBCDIC code Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code code
EGA adapter Enhanced Graphics Adapter adapter
FM modulation Frequency Modulation modulation
GIF format Graphic Interchange Format format
GOB Bluth George Oscar Bluth Bluth (a character from the TV show Arrested Development)
HIV virus Human Immunodeficiency Virus virus
HTML language Hyper Text Markup Language language
IBM machines International Business Machines machines
IP pointer Instruction Pointer pointer
IP protocol Internet Protocol protocol
IRA account Individual Retirement Account account
IRC chat Internet Relay Chat chat
ISBN number International Standard Book Number number
KFC chicken Kentucky Fried Chicken chicken
LAN network Local Area Network network
LCD display Liquid Crystal Display display
LEM module Lunar Excursion Module module
LPG gas Liquid Propane Gas gas
MASH hospital Mobile Army Surgical Hospital hospital
MIDI interface Musical Instrument Digital Interface interface
NFC conference National Football Conference conference
NPR radio National Public Radio radio
OPEC countries Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries countries
PC circuit Printed Circuit circuit
PDF format Portable Document Format format
PERL language Practical Extraction and Reporting Language language
PIF file Program Information File file
PIN number Personal Identification Number number
PNS syndrome PIN Number Syndrome syndrome (Personal Identification Number Number Syndrome syndrome)
POST test Power On Self Test test
RAM memory Random Access Memory memory
RF frequency Radio Frequency frequency
RISC computer Reduced Instruction Set Computer computer
ROM memory Read Only Memory memory
RPN notation Reverse Polish Notation notation
SALT talks Strategic Arms Limitation Talks talks
SAM missile Surface-to-Air Missile missile
SAT test Scholastic Assessment (Aptitude) Test test
START talks Strategic Arms Reduction Talks talks
START treaty Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty treaty
TWA airline Trans World Airline airline
UHF frequency Ultra-High Frequency frequency
UL laboratories Underwriters Laboratories laboratories
UN nations United Nations nations
UNIVAC computer Universal Automatic Computer computer
UPC code Universal Product Code code
UPI international United Press International international
USGS survey United States Geological Survey survey
VAT tax Value Added Tax tax
VGA adapter Variable Graphics Adapter adapter
VHF frequency Very High Frequency frequency
VIN number Vehicle Identification Number number

¹ The original material for this was part of The Nandy Conure Page website, which stopped being maintained in 2011. The website was about the Nandy Conure parrot but it also provided some resources for technical writers and editors. Much of the site is deleted since 2011. The RAP information is presented here to preserve the information for accessible technical communication.

Call for Papers for 12th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics

Image of the first page of the Call for Papers .pdf for the 2021 AHFE conference
The Call for Papers.

The 12th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE 2021) will be held July 25-29, 2021 at the Sheraton New York Times Square, New York.

See the conference website for information about submission requirements, registration, and accommodations.

The conference objective is to provide an international forum for the dissemination and exchange of scientific information on theoretical, generic, and applied areas of human factors and ergonomics. This will be accomplished through the following six modes of communication: keynote presentation, parallel sessions, demonstration and poster sessions, tutorials, exhibitions, and meetings of special interest groups. The five-day conference will start with tutorials. Tutorials will be offered at introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels covering the entire spectrum of the conference.

It is anticipated that a broad range of research and applied topics will be covered during the conference. All submitted abstracts will be peer-reviewed by three independent referees from the international program boards. Papers in the theoretical category should deal with models, concepts, and structures; papers in the generic category should present research results of broad applicability; and papers in the applied category should show how the demands of particular application areas shape the way generic research is translated into practical innovation.

Affiliated Conferences, jointly held under one management and one registration, include (I don't know if the seven 4rd conferences are supposed to be 3rd conferences or 4th conferences):

  • Global Issues: Human Factors in Disease Control and Pandemic Prevention
  • 2nd International Conference on Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • 3rd International Conference on Industrial Cognitive Ergonomics and Engineering Psychology
  • 3rd International Conference on Human Factors for Apparel and Textile Engineering
  • 4rd International Conference on Human Factors in Artificial Intelligence and Social Computing
  • 4rd International Conference on Kansei Engineering
  • 4rd International Conference on Additive Manufacturing, Modeling Systems and 3D Prototyping
  • 4rd International Conference on Advanced Production Management and Process Control
  • 4rd International Conference on Interdisciplinary Practice in Industrial Design
  • 4rd International Conference on Human Factors in Aging and Special Needs
  • 4rd International Conference on Human Factors and Assistive Technology
  • 5th International Conference on Human Factors and Wearable Technologies
  • 5th International Conference on Human Error, Reliability, Resilience, and Performance
  • 5th International Conference on Human Factors in Communication of Design
  • 5th International Conference on Human Factors in Virtual Environments and Game Design
  • 6th International Conference on Design for Inclusion
  • 6th International Conference on Cognitive Computing and Internet of Things
  • 6th International Conference on Human Factors and Simulation
  • 6th International Conference on Human Factors in Management and Leadership
  • 7th International Conference on Human Factors in Cybersecurity
  • 7th International Conference on Human Factors and Systems Interaction
  • 7th International Conference on Human Factors in Robots, Drones and Unmanned Systems
  • 7th International Conference on Human Factors in Sports, Injury Prevention and Outdoor Recreation
  • 7th International Conference on Human Factors, Business Management and Society
  • 7th International Conference on Human Factors in Energy
  • 7th International Conference on Human Factors in Training, Education, and Learning Sciences
  • 8th International Conference on The Human Side of Service Engineering
  • 8th International Conference on Human Factors, Software and Systems Engineering
  • 8th International Conference on Architecture, Sustainable Urban Planning and Infrastructure
  • 8th International Conference on Safety Management and Human Factors
  • 9th International Conference on Affective and Pleasurable Design
  • 9th International Conference on Human Factors in Transportation
  • 9th International Conference on Ergonomics in Design
  • 10th International Conference on Cross-Cultural Decision Making
  • 10th International Conference on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Healthcare and Medical Devices
  • 10th International Conference on Digital Human Modeling and Applied Optimization
  • 12th International Conference on Physical Ergonomics and Human Factors
  • 12th International Conference on Usability & User Experience
  • 12th International Conference on Neuroergonomics and Cognitive Engineering
  • 12th International Conference on Social & Occupational Ergonomics
  • 22nd International Conference on The Human Aspects of Advanced Manufacturing: Managing Enterprise of the Future