The Origin of Plain English. In 1971, the National Council of Professors of British in the U. S. created the Public Doublespeak Committee. In 1972, U. S. President Richard Nixon created Simple British momentum when he decreed that the “Federal government Register be written in ‘layman’s terms”. Industry soon followed. In 1973, Citibank transformed a promissory note to plain English, a big change that”brought great prestige to Citibank, which was seen as a leader in improving consumer relations”(Williams 1999, P. 3)

The next major event in the U. S. background of plain English occurred in 1978, when U. S. Leader Jimmy Carter issued Executive Orders 12, 044 and 12. 174. These were designed to make government restrictions cost-effective and easy to comprehend by those who have been required to comply with them. In 1981, U. S. Leader Ronald Regan rescinded those orders. Nevertheless, many sustained their efforts to simplify documents; by 1991, eight expresses had transferred statutes related to basic British. In 1998, U. S. Chief executive Bill Clinton granted Presidential Memorandum on basic language, requesting the Federal government Government’s writing must be in plain English.

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The plain- English motion in addition has been active beyond your U. S. In 1982, the English government granted a White Paper buying departments for the first time to rely their forms, abolish unnecessary ones, clarify the others, and record their progress each year to the excellent minister. Within the foreword to a book by the Plain English Campaign, an exclusive company in the U. K. , Chrissie Mather notes they have “attacked unclear legal language for the last fifteen years. “(1996)

Proponents of ordinary English are also lively in Australia since 1976 and in Canada since1988 (Shriver 1997; Berry 1995). Other countries with basic English initiatives include Sweden, South Africa, and New Zealand. (Baldwin, 1999)

The Benefits of Plain English

The benefits of plain English are both tangible and intangible. Generally, there are three benefits. First, plain English can find the note across in the shortest time possible; second, more folks are able to understand the meaning; third, there may be less chance that the doc will be misinterpreted, so less time will be put in describing it to people. If the document gives instructions, readers are more likely to understand them and follow them correctly. In short, plain English can assist in saving time, personal resources and money.

The Criticism of Plain English

The major criticism of ordinary English is the fact that its guidelines do not have sufficient research to rear them up. This essentially translates to “does plain British work?”. A couple of two points to consider in this area.

The first is whether rules derive from empirical research. It is true hat nearly all plain language resources do not cite research since the majority of them are directed toward the general public. If research is pointed out, it is normally without specific citations. However, of the resources I analyzed, the Report Design Center’s Suggestions for file designers does not have any peer in this field. For each of the 25 guidelines, they offer a section titled”what the research says”. One such guide is the recommendation to “avoid whiz deletions”. A whiz deletion is the lack of introductory word for subordinate clauses. The Guidelines offer the comparability between the word “The director would like the report that was written by the house Office. ” and “The director would like the report compiled by the house Office” (Felker among others, 1981, pp3940). This guide was based on direct research done by Charrow. In their extensive study of jury instructions, these creators found that whiz deletions made jury instructions harder to understand.

The second issue regarding plain-English recommendations and research is that genuine practice does not may actually follow the guidelines. For example, a group of research workers asserted that the Document Design Center’s guidelines about whiz deletions was not valid, since whiz deletions were a standard occurrence in( presumably) well-written documents. (Hcklin, Curtin and Graham 1991). This discrepancy between suggestions and practice was also illustrated by van der Wararde’s study in Complex Communication (1999). A review of 330 documents found that the majority did not follow standard recommendations in regards to to typographic dimensions (x-height and lines spacing). Does indeed this imply that the guidelines themselves are invalid? Perhaps. But among other possible explanations for this finding, van der Warrde considered that”legibility and attractiveness aren’t the criteria that are most often used in practice”and this criteria such as cost, standardization, or production deadlines might have more effect on document alternatives. Or as Redish and Rosen suggest, “Real-world documents are compromises”(1991)

The Ideas of Basic English

Generally speaking, there are two guidelines as the rules of plain English. The first one is conciseness and convenience. In his reserve- The Elements of Style, William Stunk said, “Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no pointless words, a paragraph no unneeded phrases, for the same reason a drawing must have no unneeded lines and a machine no needless parts. ” Furthermore, Plain English Advertising campaign in Australia defines plain British as “good, clear writing which communicates as simply and effectively as is feasible. ” Minister of Multiculturalism and Citizenship of Canada referred in plain dialect:” Clear and simple that basic English should use straightforward, concrete and familiar words to make it concise and easy to understand. “

The second the first is fluidity and continuity, which means how to arrange information from the point of plain English. Relating to this, the Minister of Multiculturalism and Citizenship of Canada thought simple British writing was a method of organizing information in ways that make sense to the reader.

These two rules can make sure the needs of the reader are matched with the needs of the writer, leading to effective, successful communication. Actually, these two concepts are also why plain English has been so popular lately.

Characteristics of Non-Literary Translation

The Oxford British dictionary defines books as”writing which includes claimed to factor on the floor of beauty of form or emotional effect. “To be able to demarcate’literary texts’from’non-literary text messages’, scholars have applied some conditions. They are fictionality, specialized dialect, insufficient pragmatic function and ambiguity.


One quality featureof literary texts probably is their fictionality. People usually agree that literary texts, even if indeed they attempt to represent reality in a few form or another, are in the end products of a writer’s imagination which at least the character types and their discussions are fictitious.

Specialized Language

People often say that literary vocabulary is ‘special’ and it differs noticeably from normal everyday words. As the Russian Formalists preserved in the early twentieth hundred years, literary texts utilize language in such a way that it becomes strange and new in a given framework. They called this technique ‘defamiliarization’.

Lack of Pragmatic Function

A little bit of literary writing, on the other side, do not need to have been expected by the writer for any specific goal. It sometimes seems as though books was just written into time and space, to no person specifically and with no function. However, non-literary text messages may have a far more clearly defined and generally agreed-upon function.


People generally recognize the view that literary texts are more ambiguous and so often more difficult than non-literary text messages. If one reads a recipe, for example, or a time-table or an instruction manual, the meaning expressed in these texts is presumed to be more or less preset and not open to interpretation. Nonetheless, different people can have different understandings of the same novel. Literary texts indeed will need to have some quality making them more’open’than non-literary ones. You can say that literary text messages always express meaning or different levels or in different layers.

According to those four criterias, literature text messages include fiction, poetry, crisis etc. In short, literary works are aimed at reflecting the public activities by portraying images or expressing personal thoughts, which the majority of the non-literary works be based upon logic thinking.

Their major characteristics will be analyzed from the following perspectives: content, style, translators’, people’, and function.

As for their content, non-literary text messages aren’t fabricated. Its materials are usually real and information is credible, so our translation shall be accurate. If we discover some mistakes of the initial texts, we’d better perfect it or give explanation to it relating to our translation goal. However, we can not do the same to the literary works.

As for his or her style, though the media of most translations is languages, the languages used for non-literary translation put more emphasis on directness and fidelity. Despite the fact that some works of popular sciences brilliant, it can be used for explaining a medical problem clearly. Therefore, plain diction may be more suitable to non-literary translation. Literary grace is not in the major quest.

From the writers’ perspective, all work is the result of thinking. Compared with the imaginary thinking for literary grace, non-literary works are expressing the meaning effectively.

From the audiences’ perspective, they focus more on its information, not its creative style or aesthetic function. It shows that the translation may put more weight on providing information. Needless to say, the translation shouldn’t be too unnatural or uncomfortable, or say, the translation shouldn’t be of a quality of translationese.

For example: The success rate of up to 90% claimed for lay detector is misleadingly attractive. (Cheng, 2006)

Translation: 90%  ˜‡‡‡‡˜˜-

Here, “misleadingly” can be an adverb signifying a translation in so this means. The translation interpreted it as an adjective to squash it in the word. It could be improved as :˜   90%˜˜- ˜” ˜-

As for his or her functions, the goal of non-literary works is to provide information. Therefore, translators should spend more initiatives on providing information, and then consider the style of languages.

For instance, I have encountered a word, “To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting. ” Logging on the web, I realize that the most similar version of the sentence originates from Treaty of Nanjing, “To All and Singular to whom these presents shall come, greeting. “Among its translations just expresses this is of greeting and nothing else:”¶˜”Obviously, it can be translated as “-˜‡˜ »˜

“˜it sounds good. However, some version translated it into”‡  ‘»† -“˜which is incorrect. For “presents” here in its plural form can’t be translated as an adverb this means “attended”. This case tells us when we do the translation of non-literary works, we should provide correct information.