Plain language in Portugal

I watched this excellent TEDx talk some time ago, but mentioning it to someone recently reminded me that you might be interested. As you may know through the blog, my position on plain legal language is somewhat mixed – due to concerns about precision and expert interpretation. However, I certainly do agree with improving accessibility.

Sandra Fisher-Martins runs Português Claro, a training and consultancy firm that introduced plain language in Portugal and has been helping Portuguese companies and government agencies communicate clearly since 2007.

Her talk is about the use of plain language and information design in public documents as a way of helping citizens make informed choices about their health, education, welfare, and civil rights. It also describes the low level of literacy in Portugal (she draws comparisons with other EU countries), making intelligibility a particularly important issue there.

The video is in Portuguese and nicely subtitled in English with only a few little typos*. Sandra is an outstanding, clear and amusing speaker.

You may also be interested in Alan Siegel’s talk “Let’s simplify legal jargon“.

*TEDTalks are subtitled by volunteers. If you’re interested in becoming a TED translator, more information is available here.

You might also like this post for the New Year about another fascinating TEDtalk, on sleep habits by Arianna Huffington.

8 thoughts on “Plain language in Portugal

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