News

Plain English campaign news articles

Loss in translation

Councils who waste taxpayers’ millions on unnecessary translation have been heavily criticised by a senior government minister.

Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles ridiculed the amounts spent on translation services and bemoaned a culture that could spend £600 on translating a glossy magazine into Urdu for a single complainant.

Read more: Loss in translation

New corporate membership logo

The Corporate membership logo

We have re-designed our corporate membership logo.

If you are a corporate member and would like to receive the updated logo, please let us know at info@plainenglish.co.uk, along with your membership number and we will send you an updated copy.

Please note that you are free to continue using the older logo if you wish.

X-rated study on confusing medical terms: Plain English Campaign prescribes cure

Complex medical jargon and unclear diagnoses could put lives at risk, according to new research.

A study has found that nearly half of working-age people cannot understand or use everyday health information.

Those with poor reading skills and the biggest health problems are thought to be most at risk.

Read more: X-rated study on confusing medical terms: Plain English Campaign prescribes cure

Plain English Day 2012

It's Plain English Day on Friday, 14 December.

Each year, we present awards for the best and worst examples of English. The main awards recognise organisations and individuals who have genuinely made an effort to present themselves using clear and concise English. The infamous 'Golden Bull' and 'Foot in Mouth' awards inject a sense of mischief into the proceedings. All the award winners can expect to receive media coverage.

Go to our awards pages to view the winners for 2012

Chrissie takes up arms against voice recognition

Following reports that Birmingham City Council's automated phone system is unable to recognise Birmingham accents, Chrissie Maher, our founder commented:-

"The millions of pounds which goes into building these systems is just stupid.

Anyone calling a rent arrears department will be anxious and upset anyway but to then have their voice not recognised because of their accent is awful.

The Brummie accent is instantly recognisable and should be celebrated. You can bet the people who developed these systems are posh or from London."

Media coverage:-

Gaffe-happy Mitt’s a (mealy-mouthed) winner

He’s about to discover whether or not months on the campaign trail have paid off. Regardless of the outcome, Mitt Romney’s a way-out-in-front winner with us at Plain English Campaign as the only feasible candidate for our Foot in Mouth award.

Throughout 2012 Romney has managed to provide, with what might seem a keen satirist’s eye, potentially damaging gaffes on an alarmingly regular basis. And, following a faux-pas happy line of US politicians, always seems to have a steady stream of gibberish ready for the next particularly unsuitable opportunity.

Read more: Gaffe-happy Mitt’s a (mealy-mouthed) winner

Debenhams clears up coffee confusion

Debenhams has provided customers with a ‘plain English’ coffee menu, replacing potentially confusing terms such as ‘Cappuccino’ and ‘Caffe latte’ with ‘frothy coffee’ and ‘really really milky coffee’.

So, rather than ordering something that sounds exotic but which you’re not entirely sure about, you can now get precisely what you want in no uncertain terms.

Read more: Debenhams clears up coffee confusion

Universal confusion over Universal Credit?

One of the most important changes to the law in this country is due to come into effect in October next year. But straight-talking supporters of Plain English Campaign fear that few of the people who this law will be relevant to will understand how it will work.

Chrissie Maher, founder of the campaign, had this warning for the Department for Work and Pensions.

‘I have read the draft Universal Credit Regulations and the Briefing Notes. They are frightening. It is almost as if we haven’t been campaigning for clarity in public documents for all these years. The Government keeps referring to ‘clarity’ and to the use of ‘plain English’ in these – but at no point has the Department for Work and Pensions consulted us on this.

Read more: Universal confusion over Universal Credit?

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