In international communication in commerce, industry, and research, there are three broad groups within the audience for information in English. For convenience, I shall call them the expert group, the student group, and the no-English group. (I should stress here that I am confining my discussion to international communication in commercial or professional activities. I am not discussing ‘English for tourism’ or the development of communication skills for general social and cultural activity, which would introduce other groups with other needs and motives.)

The expert group is probably the largest of the three. It consists of:

1 people who want to read international journals and books about science, technology, medicine, computing, commerce, legal matters, or other professional subjects in English;

2 people who are working with internationally available complex equipment, for which the support documentation is in English;

3 people who are involved in international commercial activities, in which the common language used is English.