Within the context of the European Union institutions, plain language is an important device which ensures that citizens understand the information they are given and can thus participate in the democratic process.
Plain language means that the content is clear enough for the intended audience to easily find what they need, understand what they find, and use the information provided. (Reference: International Plain Language Federation, What is plain language? [11/10/2023])
While it may seem that plain language refers exclusively to linguistic elements, factors such as the way a text is organised and its intended purpose have a major impact. To draft a text in plain language, the Plain Language Association International recommends focusing on five key areas: audience and purpose; structure; design; expression; and evaluation.
The benefits of plain language can be seen in all sectors, both in specialised and in general communications. Plain language makes possible to benefit from the information that is being communicated.
In June 2023, the first ISO plain language standard was officially released. This marked an important step in establishing the principles and guidelines for crafting documents intended for the general public, and for technical writing, legislative drafting or using controlled languages.
Congratulations to our colleagues from the European Parliament’s translation service who contributed to the creation of the standard.