Here’s our chance to challenge gobbledygook. From 14th to the 18th September we can really focus on making our voices heard for plain English. On Friday the Plain English Awards will be announced.
Now and any time you should ask questions if a document, email or web site content is hard to understand. Ask for a plain English version.
For those who create information think of your reader rather than yourself or your colleagues
- Think before you write. Who will read this?
- Check before you send
- Try reading aloud what you have written
- Use short straightforward sentences
- Use clear everyday vocabulary
- Avoid the dreaded jargon and acronyms
- Ask yourself –would my mother/grandmother understand this?
Join the plain English campaign
I was saddened and felt smacked around the ears to hear Auckland lawyer Jeremy Bioletti use disability terms as a form of abuse today. He said on Radio NZ news at three o’clock “you would have to be deaf dumb and blind not to…” What he meant was that you would have to be really stupid. Why didn’t he just say that? Deaf and blind people aren’t any more stupid than anyone else. What makes it worse is that Deaf people can’t respond to abuse on radio.
It was even more unfortunate that he used the term in relation to the real and important human rights issue of human trafficking. He was obviously affronted in that particular instance, and I might well agree with him. But he probably wouldn’t use sexist or racist language in that context. And before I hear anyone accuse me of PC gone mad” I will remind them that no one likes to be gratuitously insulted. Human rights are nothing if not about respect and dignity. Please Mr Bioletti, remember it is not OK to protect the human rights of one group while slagging off another.