Re: The cost of inaccurate technical documentation

Subject: Re: The cost of inaccurate technical documentation
From: "Damien Braniff" <Damien -dot- Braniff -at- asg -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 08:25:05 +0100

Gene said <Legal documents are intended to take simple concepts
(justice, fair play, keeping one's word, doing what's right and
ethical), make them so complicated that you can't possibly understand
them> and I have to agree. However, there is hope.

A few years ago now at a conference one of the sessions was on 'plain
English law' and the speaker was a solicitor (UK!) who was part of a
group campaigning for simplicity in legal docs (at least to make them as
simple as possible!). He gave several examples including one which was a
contract for house buyers/sellers (I remember this one as we were buying
at the time!). The 5/6 page legal doc was reduced to under three pages
all unnecessary legal jargon removed. So the 'party of the first part'
etc became buyer, seller, etc.

The result was documents that were, while still complicated in some
cases, readable and understandable by a non-legal person. I don't know
how far the movement's progressed but it was a start.

Damien Braniff
Sr. Technical Writer
damienb -at- asg -dot- com

Waterfront Plaza
8, Lagan Bank Road
Belfast, N. Ireland BT1 3LR
Tel: +44 (0) 28.9072.3124
Fax: +44 (0) 28.9072.3324



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