Yeah, but WHAT does the product DO? WHAT does the text MEAN?

I have a European client who sends me English translations of their marketing literature for me to put into easy-to-understand plain English. I do this on a regular basis and we have a great working relationship. And, apart from the odd curious phrase which I have to query, I have no problem understanding what they’re on about, even though the products are pretty damn technical.

But then I get something like this from another business (via an advertising agency who I work with on occasions). Pages and pages of stuff that actually say very little at all.  It astonishes me how so many words can be written in English, by a native English speaker, and yet say nothing.

Just meaningless jargon using meaningless business buzz words and phrases. So much so that it’s virtually impossible to work out what the product does let alone how it benefits the end-user. Anyone got a business jargon dictionary I can borrow?

So I am not at all surprised that my job is to boil all of this down into something that the end-user CAN understand. And to reduce it from umpteen web pages into a single page with short, snappy copywriting.

Why do people do this? Do they think that meaningless jargon makes their business and products sound high-end? Do they think this kind of nonsense-speak will shift more stuff?

Well, in this case, it obviously it didn’t shift more stuff or I wouldn’t be re-writing it.

But first I need to work out what the heck they are saying because I’m not at all sure that I can.

Best to come up with a couple of sentences about what I believe is being said and check it with the client with the caveat that I need to rewrite this in a way that’s easy to understand and easy to skim-read rather than something akin to a university PhD thesis on some obscure scientific research…

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