Maria Mindlin started volunteering with the Center in 2014. She initially worked on short pieces that were light and entertaining for the Center’s blog. That’s when, in her own words, “I found out I wasn’t a naturally entertaining kind of person!”
Since then, Maria has taken on other roles for the Center. She believes that her biggest contribution was as lead judge for the annual ClearMark Awards. She found the process fascinating and was impressed by the range of topics and approaches to plain language.
Maria’s passion is translating legalese into plain language – an area that remains challenging for many. She noted, “It takes time and experience to understand what the legalese means, but the investment is well worth it! I hope I can make a contribution to our community in this area. I would also like to see more rigor and uniformity in our approach to translation. The health fields and legal fields have approached plain language very differently. In general, it’s fair to say the health field has been far more successful in persuading professionals to speak more plainly. But the legal field may be a step ahead in codifying an approach that leads to more people having access to information. It’s wonderful to compare these two worlds, and take the best from each.”
Maria’s wish for plain language? “Wouldn’t it be great if the community could raise money for a plain language Fellow whose job it would be to educate other plain language professionals so we could learn more from each other and codify and make accessible the knowledge and research we have available?”
She encourages professionals to donate to the Center and encourage their clients to do the same to support plain language efforts.