Plain language fans drive to eschew obfuscation

I like the name – Plain 2013.  It’s a conference about clear communication and it’s in Vancouver October 10th to 13th .

I love the plain language initiative. We are buried in instruction manuals, tracts on websites – obfuscation abounds.

The conference promises speakers and sessions promoting clear, concise communication. It culminates with a celebration of International Plain Language Day, Sunday, October 13th when those registered “will show off their plain language products.” Other than red pens, I can’t imagine what these will be!

Topics that sound intriguing to me:

  • how to practice plain language without “dumbing down” and why do we use the words “dumbing down” anyway?
  • getting non-writers to change the way they write
  • can plain language contribute to increasing literacy?

When you read about billing GST for clients in various provinces or the manual for your new printer it’s easy to feel buried in baffle-gab, but I see plenty of reason to rejoice.

While not precisely the same thing, the Village of Pemberton recently won an award for making its public notices easier to understand.

My favorite exercise in self-editing and choosing the right word is Twitter which I think is making all who tweet into better writers.

Wishing the attendees of Plain 2013 a bracing and productive meeting.

May we all remember the timeless advice of Mr William Strunk: omit needless words.


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