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The first objective of translation is clarity. 

Clarity is the imperative of all effective communication, so much so that at LanguageLine, we consider “plain English” to be a sort of language unto itself.

The LanguageLine Clarity team helps organizations streamline their content libraries. We create simple content that reaches a broad audience by making information easy to access, understand, and use. Plain language design enhances the message with simple, inviting, easy-to-read and navigate formats.

This has two benefits: First, it makes copy easier to understand in English. Second, with jargon and complexity removed, the copy is now much easier to translate into additional languages.

Here’s one example of a recent project.

Before:

Your current dividend of $288.55 has purchased paid-up additional insurance in the face amount of $1,249.57. Your total paid-up additional insurance is $2,749.57.

After:

We have purchased more life insurance with your dividend: $1,249.57 since your last bill and $2,749.57 since you opened your account.

The revised copy is only slightly shorter, but it uses straight-forward, real words, not acronyms or jargon, and packs far more meaning for the customer receiving her bill.

The Four Content Objectives

The objective of each piece of content should be to:

  1. Connect with your intended audience
  2. Deliver helpful, customer-focused information the first time and every time
  3. Increase their understanding of your message
  4. Define a clear “call to action” – what the reader needs to do

It’s also important to ensure that all communications are accurate, up to date and consistent – a pretty big task for most companies that find their libraries filled with redundant, outdated and one-off communications.

For example, when one global health plan recently took inventory of its customer communications, they found more than 10,000 approved documents.

A concerted, company-wide effort eliminated at least half of these documents. The rest were rewritten and redesigned using plain language principles. This resulted in measurable improvement in customer and partner satisfaction, as well as the company’s customer experience score.

The Process of ‘Macrosimplification’

Each project begins by employing our unique process, which is called Macrosimplification. We start by examining a grouping of communications; for example: business-to-business, business-to-customer, sales or internal. We’ll work with you to:

  • Audit a sampling of communications (often 100-200 documents)
  • Create a new “architecture” to efficiently organize your communications
  • Identify “core” content for retention and “non-core” content for elimination
  • Develop rewritten and redesigned prototypes to guide systematic improvements
  • Conduct user testing to ensure the success of your new communications
  • Outline recommended process and infrastructure improvements
  • Deliver customized plain English standards
  • Conduct plain language training for key communications staff

Relying on these steps, one recent Macrosimplification project delivered these results:

  • Prototypes featuring 45 featuring fewer words, 25 percent fewer pages, and a grade-level reduction of 3.6 compared to the original documents
  • An 81 percent reduction in customized templates used by one department
  • An unprecedented 96.8 percent response to a simplified information request and a 400 percent increase in online submissions

LanguageLine Clarity Can Help

Are you looking to improve your connection to key audiences and lower your costs? With LanguageLine Clarity you can increase audience understanding and satisfaction; build trust by eliminating intimidating industry and legal jargon; reduce content 30-50 percent on average; eliminate calls to customer service caused by unclear communications. 

Interested in streamlining and improving your communications? Please contact kclarke@llts.com or chaykel@llts.com to discuss how Clarity can help.

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