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A plainly confusing life of letters and numbers

Algebraic calculations with their mysterious mixture of letters and numbers have been named as number one in the Top 10 of the most confusing things we might come across in our lives. Surprisingly, handling and changing foreign money made the top four, coming in behind ‘understanding the theory of relativity’, and just beating ‘the opposite sex’.

This survey of 3000 holidaymakers by has resulted in the leading foreign exchange specialist Travelex, creating a ‘Plain English guide to exchanging currency’. It is the first guide of this kind to receive accreditation from Plain English Campaign for the clarity of its wording, and its explanations of foreign-exchange jargon.

Peter Davies, Director of Travelex, says, “As the global leader in foreign exchange, we’re always looking at how we can make things easier for our customers. The ‘Plain English guide to exchanging currency’ has been developed to explain terms in plain English and simplify the process for everyone.”

Plain English Campaign usually receives complaints from members of the public about the poor use of words in public information, but people can be just as confused by figures and financial jargon that are not clearly presented and explained.

Chrissie Maher, founder of Plain English Campaign says, “Numbers, just like words, are everywhere in our communications. Whether it’s to do with election budgets or holiday spending, people need to know what is meant by a ‘billion’ or a ‘dong’, and just what they are getting for their hard-earned cash. Travelex have set the standard for clarity in their industry, and it’s up to others to follow suit and give their customers plain English and a fair service.”

Links (opens in a new window)

Travelex's plain English guide to exchanging currency (Adobe PDF, 391kb)

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