Jargon buster!!

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  • 2:41 reading time (ish)
  • 512 words

Er…sorry…say that again!!

Media Translation Guide

It’s the job of many journalists to translate what they hear. Obviously, for overseas correspondents they can hire an interpreter if they need one.  But for journalists here in the UK, the job can be just as taxing.

Take a very simple sentence (well, it should be.)

It goes something like: “We develop resources for multi-agency solutions and services to enable stakeholders to access innovative and strategic action plans for end users.”

Or

“We re-baseline integrated strategic partnerships”

It all sounds very grand. But the honest truth is that I have absolutely no idea what they do. And what’s more – I bet you don’t either.

We get this sort of information all the time, sometimes in press releases sometimes in emails, and unfortunately, sometimes just when we’re having a chat.  He’s what one person told us they did for a living (apologies if you’re reading this – but you did say that your boss told you to say this and you didn’t understand it either):

“I manage the effective and efficient provision of MIS services to the Directorate ensuring that Management Information Systems & procedures assists in the delivery of the Directorate’s service aims and objectives. This includes the management of Management Information Officers to provide effective and efficient services to all users.  All of these duties are carried out in compliance with Corporate and directorate ICT best practice policies, guidelines and procedures”

If you want to get your message across you need to speak in a way which everybody understands. Fay Weldon, who famously came up with the advertising slogan ‘Go to work on an egg’ also came up with another really snappy catch phrase. ‘Vodka gets you drunker faster.’

Unfortunately, and probably understandably, it was rejected.  But it was short, to the point and got the message across! So to help you out – here’s a quick translation guide:

“Service”  –  “We have services to help keep people safe.”

Translation:  “We have lots of really effective ways of keeping people safe.”

“Access”  –  “You can access our services.”

Translation: “You can get help by contacting us on……”

“Stakeholders” – “We work with other stakeholders.”

Translation:  – “We work with other organisations.”

And the BIG one … “Strategic”  – “We have a strategic plan.”

Translation: – “We have a plan.”  note, In most cases the word strategic is completely superfluous. Just delete it!

So the bottom line (or is that top line down) of this message is – speak in plain English if you want to get your message across.
But – if you really can’t get enough jargon and need a bit more, then I suggest you go onto the Plain English Society’s web translator page (http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/gobbledygook-generator.html).

They’ll provide you with a random piece of business jargon to impress your friends with because, as we all know, you really can’t fail with dot-com relative capability and it’s time that we became uber-efficient with our synchronised reciprocal matrix approaches.