It’s never okay when your English content needs translation before it’s translated into another language. We read a recent blog post from Acrolinx titled “Plain and Simple: How to Create Great Content Using Plain Language Strategies.” When you use plain language, your audience should understand your content the first time they read it.
We’ve kicked translation of healthcare and benefits information into high gear, so we thought it would be a good idea to touch on this subject!
Plain language means the following:
- Content is organized.
- Active voice is used.
- Sentences are shorter.
- Pronouns such as “you” and “we” are used.
- Bullets, lists, and tables help break up content.
Why use plain language?
The Plain Writing Act of 2010 was signed to require federal agencies to use clear writing when communicating with the public. (Their guidelines can be found here.) Beyond government, plain language leads to efficiency. A reader will understand the content, and there will be less need for clarifying or explaining. If you, as a user, understand a company’s message, you are more likely to trust this organization.
What are some examples?
The Federal Plain Language Guidelines list examples. These examples are helpful because they give alternatives. Across different industries, the need for plain language is important. Plain language should be used any time complicated information needs to be presented and understood. Ask yourself before writing content:
- What does my audience need to know?
- Why is this information important?
- Who are my end users? (What is their level of comprehension?)
- Is the design and layout of my information presented clearly?
Plain Language and Translation
In the language service industry, we encourage you to create content using plain language. Simply put, if source content is clear, then translated content will be clear, too. We recommend giving your translation partner as much information as possible about the documents, too! (Provide us with the answers to the questions above. The more information our linguists have about the files they are translating, the better!)
Do you have any questions on plain language? Contact LinguaLinx today.