With this entry we offer the last of three good reasons why the government and business organizations should continue to use gobbledygook instead of plain language in their communications with the public.
Reason #3: Gobbledygook can win you valuable prizes
That’s right; your excellence in creating confusing, frustrating communications just might make you a winner. If you’re seeking public recognition of your organization’s dedication to using gobbledygook and your skill in creating it, you’ll want to bring your best work to the attention of the Center for Plain Language.
The Center for Plain Language’s WonderMark awards for excellence in gobbledygook
Each year the Center for Plain Language formally honors gobbledygook’s highest achievers by presenting them with the WonderMark awards. The WonderMarks are given to those who create “…the sort of documents that make us shake our heads and say: “We wonder what they meant. We wonder what they were thinking.” This year’s WonderMarks acknowledge half a dozen organizations for their outstanding efforts in pursuit of incomprehensibility. Among the winning documents announced last month were a federal agency’s published regulation, a pharmacy chain’s drug brochure, and a transportation authority’s remarkably confusing bus sign. Visit the Center’s Web site to learn more about the prize winners and their masterpieces of obfuscation.
The Center honors excellence in plain language, too
If you follow plain language issues you’ve probably heard about the Center’s annual presentation of the ClearMark awards, too. The ClearMarks were created to “…honor the best in clear communication and plain language, celebrating documents and web sites from government, non-profits, and private companies that succeed in communicating clearly.” This year’s winners received their honors at the ClearMark Awards Banquet at the National Press Club on May 22, during the Clarity 2012 Conference. Read about the winners—and check out their award-winning documents—at the Center for Plain Language web site.
Do you have a document that deserves a WonderMark?
Does your organization’s gobbledygook have what it takes to win a WonderMark? It’s not too early to submit your entry for the 2013 awards. The competition is always intense, but your confusing, annoying document just might earn you the recognition you deserve. Of course, that document is probably making your employees more error-prone, driving down productivity, alienating customers, increasing your legal bills, and maybe even getting you into trouble with regulators. But success always comes at a price, so keep your eyes on the prize—and let us be the first to wish you luck.
Keep those samples of gobbledygook coming, and we’ll comment on the ones we think you’ll enjoy. We want to thank the reader who sent us a really wonderful example of the fog of legalese, which we’ll share here next time.