Sunday, 26 June 2011

Jargon


In communication it is usually best to use the simplest word that does the task required, unless a special effect is being sought. This is something that is forgotten by specialists in many industries. Sometimes people want to sound 'intelligent' and think that using unnecessary words makes them appear more so; other times it is just laziness or ignorance. In Edge magazine, June 2011 issue, one article seemed to be full of irritating marketing-speak. There were many examples, I'm just going to pick up on two of them: note that all the references below are from a single page article.*



1. Incentivise
  • "This potentially incentivises growth toward an industry..."
  • "we again risk incentivising a specific design approach"
  • "even when mildly incentivised away from doing so"
  • "the risks of incentivising problematic approaches"
Why not just say 'encourages' or 'encouraging'? A shorter word, in common use, that is simpler and more elegant. As evidence, which sounds better:
"even when mildly incentivised away from doing so"
or
"even when discouraged from doing so"?

2. Annualisation
  • "economic pressures push us closer to true annualisation of sequels"
  • "In a model driven by truly annualised sequels"
  • "While it is clear that annualised sequels most definitely reduce the expense of development"
  • "annualising sequels is probably not the most responsible path"
Again, always use the shorter word. The simple adjective 'annual' would suffice far more effectively in each case. Compare:
"economic pressures push us closer to true annualisation of sequels"
versus
"economic pressures encourage annual sequels".

Industry people pick up on words which they mistakenly think sound good and adopt them, thereby distracting from the intelligent points they are otherwise making. Please, in all writing, use plain language!

* I should add that the article on p118 was written by a LucasArts director Clint Hocking, so perhaps it is not surprising that it is full of the kind of buzzwords bandied round in boardrooms. However, this isn't targeting Clint, just this use of language in general, which is becoming increasingly prevalent like a potent virus.
Share:

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very true, there's lots of jargon around, most of which goes in and out of fasion. One 'in' word that I dislike is the way 'grow' is used in business references. For example "We need to grow the business". "We need to grow our market share." No no no!