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Making communication simple: Translating in Plain Language

When we talk about translation and communicating across different cultures, there’s a simple, helpful concept – Plain Language.

This means using clear and simple words to share information with your audience that they will understand the first time they read it.

Let’s explore why this is important and how Plain Language helps when we’re communicating with people from diverse backgrounds.

What actually is Plain Language?

Plain Language, plain writing or Plain English, is a smart writing style that makes things easy to understand.

It uses simple words so everyone can follow along and it is helpful when translating content into different languages or for different cultures.

Here are some examples

Instead of: In order to utilise public transport, purchase a travel card.

Use: Buy a travel card to use public transport.

Instead of: There will be several people attending.

Use: There will be many people coming.

Instead of: Your arrival is expected approximately 15 minutes prior to the event.

Use: Please arrive 15 minutes before the event starts.

Why is it helpful in translation?

Translating isn’t just about changing words from one language to another. It’s about making sure the main idea gets transferred into another language, even though the words are different.

Plain Language makes this process smoother.

When we use Plain Language, it gives translators a clear roadmap. They can see and understand the key points and translate them in another language without confusion.

Keeping it simple and right

Plain Language isn’t about “dumbing-down” information. It’s about writing information in a simple way, so that the reader understands the content as quickly, easily, and completely as possible.

This means using everyday words and explaining things further where needed.

Also, it’s good to remember that some sayings or ideas might not make sense in other languages. So, it’s best to avoid them when writing for translation.

Plain Language asks us to choose words that everyone can understand, no matter where they’re from.

Plain Language is like a superhero for communication. It helps us communicate clearly, even when we’re dealing with different languages and cultures.

By using Plain Language, translators can do their job easily and make sure everyone understands the message, no matter where they’re from, or what language they speak.

Want to learn more?

At Ethnolink, we make sure your messages stay clear and simple when they move between languages.

Reach out to our Head of Multicultural Communications, Rachael Coulthard to find out more – rachael@ethnolink.com.au

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