Bill Bennett

Bill Bennett

Jargon doesn’t make you look smarter

Jargon makes it easier to write about technology. Technical ideas can be quicker and easier to discuss using the private language of engineers and geeks.

Some technical terms pack a lot of meaning into a single word or a phrase. At times jargon is a useful short cut.

Even so, try to keep jargon under control. And only use it in context.

It can be a barrier to understanding. A lot is misused, ambiguous or confusing.

Jargon is often redundant. It’s simpler, less confusion and unambiguous to talk about Windows when some people might say ‘the Windows platform’ or ‘the Windows environment’.

Remember sometimes specialist language is used as a deliberate tool to hide meaning from outsiders.

Likewise, there’s no excuse for indulging in the robot-speak used by corporations and government departments.

Out of context, jargon doesn’t make you look smarter. It tells your readers you’re a pompous windbag.

Often it makes your words, and your meaning, harder to understand.

Remember, not every reader is a native English speaker. And not every native speaker is tuned in to specialised language.

Some pet hates:

Ongoing – and ongoing situation is worse. Going forward – if you mean in the future say so. Ground rules. Upturn. Outcome is a particularly nasty piece of political and bureaucratic doublespeak for result. Currently.