We celebrate the international Plain Language Day on 13th October. This year, 13th October is a Friday. Some people believe it to be a very unlucky day... That's why we need plain language - so that understanding is not a matter of luck.
Plain language is a tool to make communication more accessible. Let's go through the most typical features of plain language:
Everyday phrases instead of specialized vocabulary
Short sentences instead of complex ones
Only the most important details instead of repetitions
Clear calls to action instead of vague instructions
State the point immediately instead of lengthy introduction
Tables and bullet points instead of complex descriptions
What are the benefits of plain language?
More people get the message, regardless of their literacy background
Reading takes less time
More people comply with the call to action
Less misunderstanding means less need to fix problems
Different target groups benefit from plain language communication. People with low literacy skills or people with concentration problems benefit from plain language. Second language speakers may need plain language only temporarily, until their language skills get better. But even advanced speakers benefit from plain language because it is designed to deliver the message quickly and efficiently.
Even though the popularity of plain language is growing, still too many people are unaware about how to write accessibly. While plain language writers should attend training by a professional, here are some resources to get started: