Plain English Training 12 June

12 June 2017, 9:30am to 3:30pm
Carmelite Centre, Aungier Street, Dublin 2

Register online for a course that will introduce you to plain English writing and design tips.

Cost 
€120 per person (€100 per person for community and voluntary organisations)

The training venue is wheelchair accessible.

EirGrid wins Plain English Awards

The winners of the Plain English Awards for Ireland, sponsored by Mason Hayes & Curran were announced by the National Adult Literacy Agency in Dublin in February 2017.

The winners were:
Organisation: EirGrid
Document: Have your say – how we develop the electricity grid, and how you can influence our plans
Category: Energy category and Overall winner

Organisation: Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
Document: Going to court as a witness
Category: Information for the public

Organisation: Down Syndrome Ireland
Document: Employment letter and survey
Category: Health-Patient tools and resources

Organisation: Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre and the Marie Keating Foundation
Document: Be Breast Cancer Aware
Category: Health Information for the public

Organisation: Irish Lung Fibrosis Association
Document: National Patient Charter
Category: Patient information leaflets

Organisation: Taxback.com
Document: Guide to the PAYE tax system
Category: Finance

Organisation: Bord Gáis
Document: Tone of Voice Resource
Category: Internal Resources

Organisation: The Heartbeat Trust
Document: Poster about the main symptoms of heart failure
Category: Health Posters and Bookmarks

The aim of the Plain English Awards is to reward organisations that communicate clearly in plain English. Organisations entered the competition by submitting documents that they thought were outstanding examples of plain English and an independent panel of plain English experts judged the entries.

The independent judges were very impressed with how all the winners communicated directly to the intended reader through language that was easy to read and understand.

The Plain English Awards are organised by the National Adult Literacy Agency and sponsored by leading law firm Mason Hayes & Curran. The Awards were presented at a gala dinner in the Law Society of Ireland, Dublin.

 

New booklet shows how unclear communication can lead to costly court cases

 

A new booklet called ‘Plain English and the law: the legal consequences of clear and unclear communication’ was launched on Thursday 9 February 2017. The booklet shows how plain English can save companies time and money by avoiding unnecessary legal costs. It is a joint initiative by the National Adult Literacy Agency and Mason Hayes & Curran.
The booklet presents ‘lessons’ from three Irish legal cases where the interpretation of language was central to the outcome of the court case. Two of the legal case studies show how unclear language was argued in court. A third legal case study shows how a case was won because it was proven that a company had provided clear information to a consumer.

The court cases and lessons are:
1. Ickendel Ltd V Bewley Café Grafton Street: a lesson for landlords and tenants
2. Corbally V Medical Council: a lesson for regulators
3. ACC Bank V Kelly: a lesson for consumers and banks
Justice Peter Kelly, President of the High Court has written the foreword.

The booklet is in three parts.
1. Part one provides the evidence of the legal consequences of unclear communication in three court cases in Ireland.
2. Part two describes what plain English is and how it is gaining traction – from public demands for clear consumer contracts to the emphasis on plain language in the Central Bank of Ireland’s Consumer Protection Code.
3. Part three provides guidance on how to write in plain English, words and phrases to avoid, document design tips and other useful resources.

The booklet was launched by the National Adult Literacy Agency and Mason Hayes & Curran at their Plain English Awards in the Law Society of Ireland, Dublin in 2017. The awards were sponsored by MHC and are the second Plain English Awards ceremony to be held in Ireland.

Plain English Training 2017

22 March 2017, 9:30am to 3:30pm
Carmelite Centre, Aungier Street, Dublin 2

Register online for a course that will introduce you to plain English writing and design tips.

Cost 
€120 per person (€100 per person for community and voluntary organisations)

The training venue is wheelchair accessible.

Launch of Plain English Awards 2016

The Plain English Awards – sponsored by Mason Hayes & Curran – are a public pat on the back for plain English champions.

This year NALA is encouraging businesses and organisations from different sectors (Financial, Health, Regulatory and Public Sector) to send us documents that they think are outstanding examples of plain English. The deadline is 15 November and you can send your material online.

An independent panel of plain English experts will judge the entries and decide on the best and worst winners in each category.

The winners will get an internationally approved Plain English Mark. The worst will get some free Plain English training.

The awards are organised by the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) to promote the use of plain English in all public information.

Plain English Training – including tips for writing for the web

Wednesday 14 September

9.30am – 3.30pm

Venue: Carmelite Community Centre, 56 Aungier St, Dublin 2.

Ask yourself the following questions:
◾Do you want to ensure you are communicating as clearly and effectively as possible?
◾Are you sometimes frustrated answering the same questions because the information to customers is not clear enough?
◾Do you find it difficult to develop clear reports, policies, promotional, training or web materials?
◾Do you want to get quality training in how best to communicate, provided by leaders in plain English editing and training?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then this course is for you.

Cost

€120 per person (€100 per person if from the community and voluntary organisations). You can enrol online.

This venue is wheelchair accessible.

Plain English Training – including tips on writing for the web

Wednesday 22 June, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Venue: Carmelite Community Centre, 56 Aungier St, Dublin 2.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you want to ensure you are communicating as clearly and effectively as possible?
  • Are you sometimes frustrated answering the same questions because the information to customers is not clear enough?
  • Do you find it difficult to develop clear reports, policies, promotional, training or web materials?
  • Do you want to get quality training in how best to communicate, provided by leaders in plain English editing and training?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then this course is for you.

Cost

€120 per person (€100 per person if from the community and voluntary organisations). You can enrol online.

This venue will be wheelchair accessible.

Election 2016: Plain English guide to political terms

Ever wanted to know what ‘front runner’ really meant but were too afraid to ask? Check out the National Adult Literacy Agency’s free Plain English guide to political terms ahead of the general election.

Bandwagon effect’, ‘Dark horse candidate’ and ‘Mudslinging’ are just some of the terms explained in a plain English guide to political terms. The guide was written by the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) and aims to help the public become more familiar with some of the most common political terms.

“Politics is awash with terms and phrases that are beloved of commentators and politicians alike. That’s why we wrote this guide – to help people to better understand what is being said. We hope that the guide will help more people get involved in political activity and the general election,” said Inez Bailey, Director, NALA.

“We also encourage political parties to use less jargon and to be more aware of the issues faced by the 1 in 6 adults with literacy difficulties in Ireland. While political jargon allows politicians to talk about issues in a quicker, coded way, it can also act as a real barrier for people accessing information,” said Inez.

NALA’s plain English guide to political terms is free to download here.

Sample of terms in the guide:

Bandwagon effect: The tendency for a popular candidate or proposal to gather even more support simply because they appear to be winning; also called the ‘snowball effect’.

Canvassing: Trying to win votes by contacting voters directly, for example by going door to door.

Dark horse’ candidate: An almost unknown contestant in an election who achieves unexpected support.

Floating voter: A person who is undecided about how to vote in an election or referendum; a voter who doesn’t always vote for the same political party.

Front runner: A candidate who is likely to win an election or be nominated by their party to take part in an election.

Gerrymander: Deliberately dividing a constituency in a way that gives an advantage to one political party or to particular voters.

Hustings: Public meetings in the run up to an election where candidates outline their policies as part of their election campaign.

Incumbent: A person who currently holds a post or office.

Landslide victory: An overwhelming majority of votes for one candidate or party in an election.

Marginal seat: A seat held by a political party by a very narrow margin and, so, at risk of being lost.

Mudslinging: The practice of saying negative things about an opponent during a political campaign; also known as ‘dirty politics’.

Quota: The number of votes that a candidate needs to win a seat under the proportional representation (PR) system.

Returning Officer: A person who supervises the counting of votes during an election or referendum, and who certifies and officially announces the results.

Single Transferable Vote – STV: A system of voting where several seats are available in a constituency. A person votes for their preferred candidate, and any unused votes for that candidate (for example, if they already have enough to be elected) are transferred to other candidates in the constituency until all seats are filled.

Safe seat: A seat in a constituency that is likely to go to a particular candidate because of the amount of support given to the candidate or the political party they represent.

Spin: Public relations (PR) activity, for example press releases or interviews, or a way of presenting information that aims to enhance the public image of a person or group, such as a politician or their party, at the expense of a political opponent or the opposition party.

Swing voter: A person who votes, but whose support can switch from one political party to another, depending on the issue at stake.

Tallyman: A person who attends the counting of votes and, by watching the process, carries out an unofficial count of the ballot papers as the official count progresses.

 

The End

For media queries please contact:

Clare McNally, National Adult Literacy Agency 01 412 7909 / 087 648 6292

About the National Adult Literacy Agency

The National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) is an independent charity committed to making sure people with literacy and numeracy difficulties can fully take part in society and have access to learning opportunities that meet their needs. According to an OECD survey in 2012, 1 in 6 Irish adults has difficulty understanding basic written text. Plain English benefits all of us but is particularly helpful for Irish people with low literacy levels.

What is plain English?

Plain English is a style of presenting information that helps you understand it the first time you read it. It involves short clear sentences and using everyday words. It does not involve small print or unnecessary jargon.

Why is this important?

Both citizens and governments benefit from clear information, written in plain English. Citizens are more likely to understand their rights and governments are more likely to make better use of their resources.

This is why NALA recommends that all public information produced by Government and its agencies is written in plain English.

 

 

Writing for the Web using plain English – free training for the community and voluntary sector

This course is for content writers, editors or reviewers who write and manage web content. Free for the community and voluntary sector only.

PEN Plain English Writing for the Web Training

Thurs 21 January: 9.30am-4.00pm

Thurs 11 February: 9.30am-4.00pm

Venue: Cluid, 63-66 Amiens Street, Dublin 1

Who is this course for?

This course is for content writers, editors or reviewers who write and manage content but who are new to plain English or would like a refresher. Trainees are likely to have to write text about their organisation and or a particular news topic or issue. The course would also be useful to other staff members who want to sharpen their writing techniques.

Description of course:

This course will use a mix of presentation, relevant examples, discussion and exercises to introduce participants to the benefits and techniques of plain English when writing or reviewing web content. The training aims to be informal with regular opportunities for questions and answers. We will use examples of content from participants’ own websites.

By the end of this training, participants should be able to:

  • understand how people ‘read’ on the web;
  • identify what makes web material difficult to read and understand;
  • write sharper copy for their website using web writing resources based on plain English;
  • identify and use keywords to maximise search engine results and placing;
  • have a greater appreciation of the importance of clear navigation; and
  • appreciate accessibility and legal issues when writing for the web.

Course outline:

9.15 Tea and coffee

9.30 Welcome, introductions and expectations

9.40 What’s different about writing for the web? Does plain English help?

9.50 Who are you writing for? What they want from your site?

10.10 An integrated web writing strategy – what’s this? Does it fit with webpage content, newsletters, Facebook, and so on?

10.40 The science of web usability (UX)

  • Usability and what we know about how people read on the Web and what they want

11.15 Navigation is a content – and an accessibility issue

  • Breaking up long or complicated text using clear headings or sub-headings, appropriate paragraphs, meaningful links, keywords

11.45 The value of storytelling

12.30 Lunch

1.15 How to write clearly

  • Being personal and direct
  • Being concise
  • Being positive
  • Using everyday words
  • Making verbs obvious and strong
  • Font, format and alignment
  • Style matters

3.15 Defamation and copyright

3.35 Questions, answers and… next steps

4.00 Evaluation and close.

Note: This course is focused on writing in plain English. It is not about building a website. Timings are indicative.

To register for the course on 21 January click here

To register for the course on 11 February click here