Using Plain Words and Precise Language For A Better Translation

Regardless of your intended audience, a manager must ensure that messages are clearly understood by proofreaders, reviewers, legal translators and the final intended recipients.  To do this, the message must be written using plain language and known terminology that is familiar to your audience.  Big words shouldn’t always be avoided though, particularly if they can convey a thought efficiently and are understood by readers.  Just don’t use big words for the sake of using big words.  By substituting familiar words and phrases for unfamiliar words and phrases, you maximize understanding of your message, accurate interpretation and following of your instructions, and likelihood for success.



Initiate Start
Embark Begin
Obfuscate Confuse
Resolution End
Outset of day Dawn, sunrise, 8 a.m.
Repast Meal
You will find herewith… Here is…
In the event that… If…

When making effective word choices, carefully consider your use and inclusion of jargon.  The term jargon refers to words and expressions that are used in professional trades and professions and often have unfamiliar meanings to others.  Jargon allows people in a specific, specialized group to communicate their thoughts and ideas more quickly and efficiently.  However, most outsiders might easily confuse the meaning or completely ignore jargon. Emergency room workers, for example, know what stat (quickly, immediately or without any delay) means , but patients might think it refers to statistics pertaining to the patient’s medical record.

In most cases, it’s probably better to refrain from using jargon except when your message is targeted to an audience that you know will understand the meaning.

Using Precise Language

When writing to a general audience, always use standard English that is free of jargon, slang and big words that could easily be replaced with simple words that are commonly used.  In addition, communicators should avoid using vague language and language that lacks exactness.  Whenever possible, speak in terms of exact quantities and measures and use measurement systems known by your audience.  As a final recommendation, if your message contains too many negative points of emphasis, try to rephrase and express them positively.

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