Why clear and simple language matters

Living in a country that speaks another language is a humbling experience and one that has led me to think about how we communicate in English as writers.
 
Are we as clear as we can be? Do we write assuming everyone can understand? Can we do better?
 
I say yes – especially when writing for an international audience or global clients.

Not everyone is a native English speaker

English might be the business language of the world but it doesn’t mean it’s everyone’s native language. Or even a second language that they are completely fluent in.

This means by being more considerate and thinking about the target market, we can make our writing more accessible to a wider audience.

The key is to use clear, simple language – whether writing a website page, a tagline or a tone of voice guide.

Here’s how.

Think simple, not complex

A quick and easy way to transform a piece of writing is to swap complex or formal words for a simpler alternative.

Like these examples:

Then, to go a bit further, check the text for regional slang words and phrases. 
 
For example, writing about making a brew (a cup of tea) might work with a UK audience. But if the target market is more global it will probably get lost in translation.
 
The same applies to a phrase like “budgie smugglers” (Australian slang for men’s swimming trunks). It might sound funny but if half of your readers don’t know what it is, then it becomes redundant.
 
Of course, there are times when complex and formal language, or even dialect, is needed. The same applies to slang and cultural phrases.
 
But, more often than not, the message just needs to be clear and simple.

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