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I got an email from someone today asking: 'when I wrote RIA, did I mean Rich Internet Applications or Registered Investment Advisors?'
Of course, it is the sloppy journalist who relies on jargon (or acronyms!) in their writing. The easiest way to make sure your readers understand what you are saying, is to say it in plain, simple and straightforward language.
However, it is not just humble hacks that fire off hasty emails. Pity the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) who sent the letter,
Personal and Private Banking -- Keeping You Informed, to Chrissie Maher, founder of the Plain English Society. She wrote back, suggesting they rename their customer correspondence
Keeping you Confused.
A useful link in the
WSJ story is a glossary of financial terms, with helpful
'plain English' translations.
I have every sympathy for Chrissie Maher. The bank could do worse than offer her work even on a freelance basis. However, it is not just this sector that suffers from mumbojumbo jargon that frequently baffles customers.
The key point here is that "sloppy journalists"/"humble hacks" (much as it pains me to write this) and businesses need to keep their end consumer in mind. Fancy language does little to impress those that need to be in the know and it ends up merely irritating.
In my experience, journalists (whether humble or normal) are the last people to need this good advice; they generally live and breathe it, and are brilliantly intolerant of jargon. This is one of many traits that distinguish journalists from industry/technology
analysts, bloggers, self-appointed "subject matter experts" and - by far the worst offenders - evangelical marketing types (EMT's).
Global FinTech Commentator
05 Nov 2007
This post is from a series of posts in the group:
A place to share stuff that isn't at all fintec related but is amusing, absurd or scary.