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The plain language revolution

By Ed O'Keefe

The Eye's close contacts and government sources know how much he detests bureaucratic speak, especially the verbal variety, so he's thrilled to learn that the Center for Plain Language is hosting a forum Friday afternoon at the National Press Club to encourage the use of plain language.

Colleague Joe Davidson writes today about the plain English movement:

Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) is pushing government agencies toward clarity with proposed legislation that would require them to use plain language and defines it as language "that the intended audience can readily understand and use because it is clear, concise, well-organized."
One agency known for getting it right is Citizenship and Immigration Services. Check out its Web site at www.uscis.gov. It's clear, clean and easy to understand. The agency's parent, the Department of Homeland Security, offers monthly training in the use of plain language and last month held its first awards ceremony to honor employees who communicate clearly.
Another site, plainlanguage.gov, encourages the use of clear communications by providing before and after examples of government writing. You can see original documents and the same, more easily understood information after it was translated into plain language.

Let's hope more agencies start using that site!

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | October 30, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, FY-Eye  
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