Sheila O'Kelly - makes every word count by making it clear

Plain English editing

You have the material but you need it edited

Your material can benefit from plain English editing when you have the information but it:

  • is written by several different authors;
  • uses different styles throughout;
  • looks dense and unappealing;
  • is too long;
  • does not convey your message clearly;
  • uses poor design;
  • uses cumbersome, vague language; and
  • needs to be read several times to understand it.

Plain English editing can make it clear and easy to asborb.


Reports

Make people want to read your report

Often the information for a report comes from many
different sources and is written in different styles.
Sheila O'Kelly can gather all the information
together and edit the document so that it is:

  • written in a consistent style;
  • interesting and easy to read;
  • well signposted so people can find the information they need;
  • well organised; and
  • information is not duplicated unnecessarily.

Before and after plain English editing

Before

'Going forward, the details of a plain English course as it is envisaged by the company, will be formulated giving due consideration to company policy and be implemented in due course along the lines outlined by the training specification document that was issued previously by that department. An initial course has been scheduled to follow soon after the Christmas vacation period, all things permitting and keeping in mind the synergy of the different departments. Any person, or persons, who are interested in a placement on the said course, should contact the relevant person in the department.'

After

'The training department has recommended a plain English course. The first course will be held on January 7th. If you are interested in taking part on this one-day course please contact Ian Smith on extension 123.'
 

Examples

The kind of documents that benefit from plain English editing are:

  • Company reports
  • Press releases
  • Internal newsletters
  • Internal reports
  • Product promotion publications
  • Consumer information
  • Annual reports
  • Company five-year plans
  • Company policy statements
  • Company strategy documents
  • Safety statements
  • Hygiene statements
  • Speeches
  • Articles for submission to third parties.