In this high tech world, more people are speaking in jargon, or gibberish.
Jargon can take different forms. It might be done with exclusive terms understandable by only a certain few. It might consist of buzz-words intended to impress in meetings or on documents and websites. Or it might take the form of euphemisms to make something seem better than it is.
Every document and website has to be easy to understand. As Einstein said, if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough. My job as a copywriter is to get rid of jargon. I do it in seven steps.
One prime example I had was with a client. The client wanted me to edit a presentation of their domains, explaining what their managers needed to do for their organisations. It comprised eight documents running to 100 pages in highly technical language. It was a mess.
Here are the 7 steps I used:
- First, I had to identity what kind of jargon it was. There are three types of jargon.: Technical language, legal language and business jargon.
- Secondly, I spent a day reading through, fine tuning the language, cutting out redundant parts and fixing the odd spelling mistake.
- I needed to examine who the audience was, who exactly was reading it. I discussed this with the client. I’ve worked 25 years as a business journalist so I knew enough about this particular demographic to make it understandable. I did all this without dumbing it down. I stuck to their message.
- I also assessed its readability score using the Flesch-Kincaid method. The Flesch method can be applied to any text, with perfect clarity scoring 100 and impenetrable gobbledygook scoring zero
- I used shorter words, shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs.
- I omitted repetitive words.
- I also tracked the changes in word so that the client could see exactly what I had done.
The client loved it. They said I had summed up exactly what they were saying, but I had made it so readable, not only for them but for a broader market.
You see jargon in every industry, from universities to manufacturing to telecommunications to financial services. I want to hear from anyone wanting me to fix it for them. I’ve shown you the seven steps.
You can contact me at [email protected] or on 0411 745 193