Engineers around the world are working together, sharing information and collaborating on projects. But how well are they communicating or using plain language? Differences in language, culture and social customs all have an impact on how we communicate.
Connexions, an international communications journal, is dedicating a special issue to international engineering communication. (more…)
Joe Kimble, professor of law at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, has just finished his long awaited new book, Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please: The Case for Plain Language in Business, Government, and Law. Carolina Academic Press, which also published his earlier book Lifting the Fog of Legalese, is the publisher.
The book sets out the elements of plain language, debunks the 10 biggest myths about it, summarizes 40 historical highlights, and summarizes 50 (no less) studies on the benefits of plain language for everyone–readers, writers, businesses, and government agencies.
In the federal world, one of the most common justifications for not using plain language is rooted in fear that plainly written documents won’t pass policy or legal review because they don’t sound “official” enough.
Finally, research proves that even judges and lawyers — people who are as “official” as you can get — prefer documents written in plain language.
A recent study of 295 federal and state judges (.PDF) across the U.S. showed that the majority preferred the plain writing version of a dull trial motion document to one using traditional legal writing.
This is wonderful ammunition for anyone trying to get a plain language document through legal or policy clearance. Documents don’t have to be written in legalese – even judges say so.
- “A New Comprehensive Study Confirms That Judges Find Plain English More Persuasive Than Legalese” by Sean Flammer. Michigan Bar Journal, September 2011 (PDF)