The power of plain EnglishDecember 11, 2009
I was unable to go to the ASTC (NSW) Conference this year, which was held in Sydney in conjunction with the Plain English Foundation’s international conference. However, I’ve been reading some glowing reports from various attendees.
One mentioned Angela Colter’s presentation on the assessment of credit card disclosure documents that she did for the US Government Accountability Office (GAO). The slides are interesting, but for me, there were two that REALLY stood out.
The first shows the median reading level of US adults (Grade 8), against the reading grade level of card member agreements (Grade 12) and annual percentage rate information (Grade 17). Scary stuff:
The second illustrated the power of plain English by comparing text on one of those credit card agreements before and after plain language principles were applied:
Some of the presentations from this conference are available here: http://www.plainenglishfoundation.com/Paperspresentations/Workshoppapers/tabid/3292/Default.aspx
- [Plain] Language Resources: https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2008/06/30/language-resources/
[Links last checked November 2009]