Even though there are no exact statistics about the actual errors made by ATCs, a significant number of them are hesitant to report their mistakes in fear of punishment. However, reporting such instances could actually help to prevent tragedies.
Even though air traffic controllers are trained to use standard air traffic phraseology, unfortunately, sometimes misunderstandings still do occur. Phraseology may become a very serious issue due to different levels of the English language proficiency. Although English was made the mandated language of aviation back in 1951, standard phrases used by air traffic controllers and pilots are still sometimes being misunderstood due to the language barrier.
If English is not a person’s native language, he or she may fail to take into account the different structure of words, phrases and sentences. Different pronunciation is also a common issue as even such simple words as ‘go’ and ‘no’ can get confused due to distinct phonetic features of a certain language.