Technical language

Businesses or arts organisations often have a lot of technical or insider language that’s really familiar to them but obscure to many people outside their front door. They hate writing without it, because it’s become a way for them to prove to everyone they work with that they know what they’re talking about.

But anyone else reading it will immediately think, ‘oh, okay, this isn’t for me,’ and switch off.

I teach them to fold explanations into the text.

First draft: Two young girls take heat from a brazier

Final draft: Two young girls warm up over a brazier of coals

Now there’s just enough extra detail for the reader to understand that a brazier is some sort of coal heater.

Or you can give a small clue without providing a lengthy and comprehensive definition – sometimes we just need to help people feel less lost.

First draft: Local snipe…

Final draft: Waterbirds called snipe…

That’s all I need to know, really.

The ‘insider’ language stays, but the reader’s now an insider too.



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