Category Archives: jargon

Taking the plunge

black-diver-diver-mdI’m going full-time freelance at the beginning of June, after four years working part-time at UNESCO as editor of the EFA Global Monitoring Report, the United Nations’ major annual survey of education around the world. That means I’ll have more time for editing and leading workshops – and for writing about language and development.

When I’m editing for UN agencies and non-government groups, I’m struck by  how eager people are to reach for the ready-made words and phrases that circulate within the development world. Very often those terms aren’t familiar to non-specialist readers. So important findings and calls to action don’t reach their targets – including the decision-makers who have the power to act on them, and the citizens and voters who can put pressure on leaders to act.

I want to unpack some of those terms on this blog, and suggest alternatives. I also want to highlight good examples of writing about development – and ways to improve writing that misses the mark.

I’ll also link to writing by others who keep an eye on the politics of good and bad writing – like Good Copy, Bad Copy, Steven Poole, the Plain English Campaign and the Center for Plain Language.