Plain language translation is a communication approach that emphasizes simplicity and clarity. It aims to make information accessible to a wide range of readers, including those with limited language proficiency or cognitive abilities. While the focus is often on simplifying complex concepts and using straightforward language, incorporating a positive tone can further enhance clarity and comprehension. In this article, we will explore the reasons why being positive improves clarity in plain language translation.

Describe Plain Language

Your audience will be able to grasp your communication the first time they read it or hear it if you use plain language (also known as plain writing or plain English).

Language may not be clear to some readers but clear to others. If your audience can understand the material, then:

  • Identify their needs.
  • Recognise what they discover when they read or hear it for the first time.
  • Apply what they discover to their needs.

You can attain this goal using a variety of strategies. The most typical include:

  • Organisation centred on the reader
  • Other pronouns and “you”
  • Active, not passive voice
  • Use short paragraphs and sentences.
  • Typical, daily language
  • Design elements that are simple to follow (lists, headers, tables)

The Impact of Language on Perception

plain language translation

Language has a profound effect on how information is received and understood. Positive language fosters a more receptive and engaging environment for readers. It creates a sense of encouragement, optimism, and motivation. When applied to plain language translation, positive language can increase comprehension and make the content more approachable, leading to better overall communication.

Clarity in Plain Language Translation

Clarity in plain language translation is essential for effective communication. It ensures that information is easily understood and accessible to a wide range of readers. By using clear and concise language, complex concepts can be simplified and conveyed in a straightforward manner. Clarity eliminates confusion, enhances comprehension, and allows the intended message to shine through. In plain language translation, clarity is the key to bridging communication gaps and ensuring that information is conveyed accurately and effectively.

The Importance of Clarity

Clarity is of utmost importance in plain language translation. It ensures that information is easily understood, accessible, and meaningful to the target audience. Here are a few reasons why clarity holds such significance in plain language translation:

  1. Effective Communication: Clarity eliminates ambiguity and allows for effective communication, ensuring that the intended message is accurately conveyed.
  2. Accessibility: Clarity makes information accessible to a wide range of readers, including those with limited language proficiency or cognitive abilities.
  3. Engagement: Clear and concise content enhances reader engagement, encouraging them to interact with the information and take appropriate action.
  4. Comprehension: Clarity promotes better understanding and comprehension, enabling readers to grasp the intended meaning effortlessly.

In plain language translation, prioritizing clarity enables effective communication and ensures that information is accessible and meaningful to diverse audiences.

Benefits of Being Positive in Plain Language Translation

Being positive in plain language translation offers numerous benefits that enhance communication and engagement. Positive language creates a welcoming and optimistic tone, instilling confidence and motivation in readers. It promotes better comprehension, as readers feel encouraged and empowered to understand the information provided. Additionally, positive language builds trust and fosters a positive rapport between the writer and the reader. By highlighting benefits and solutions, using encouraging phrases, and avoiding negativity, positive language enhances the overall effectiveness of plain language translation, making it more impactful and relatable to the intended audience.

1. Enhancing Comprehension

plain language translation

Positive language helps readers connect with the content on an emotional level. It creates a more favorable mindset and promotes a sense of trust and receptiveness. When readers feel positive and engaged, they are more likely to comprehend and retain information. By incorporating positive language in plain language translation, you can increase the chances of your message being understood and remembered.

2. Motivating and Empowering Readers

Positive language has the power to inspire and motivate readers. It instills confidence and a sense of empowerment. When readers feel encouraged and uplifted, they are more likely to take action or follow through with the information provided. In plain language translation, using positive language can help readers feel empowered to make informed decisions and take the necessary steps outlined in the content.

3. Building Trust and Engagement

Positive language creates a positive rapport between the writer and the reader. It fosters trust and establishes a connection. When readers feel a sense of trust, they are more likely to engage with the content and feel comfortable seeking additional information. In plain language translation, building trust and engagement through positive language can lead to better overall communication outcomes and foster a positive relationship with the target audience.

Implementing Positive Language in Plain Language Translation

Implementing positive language in plain language translation involves using words and phrases that convey optimism, encouragement, and support. By incorporating positive language, you can create a more engaging and relatable translation. Focus on using empowering and inclusive language, highlighting benefits and solutions, and avoiding negative terms or jargon. This approach fosters a positive atmosphere, enhances comprehension, and motivates readers to take action. By consciously implementing positive language, you can effectively convey your message, connect with your audience, and create a more impactful plain language translation.

  • Use Encouraging and Supportive Phrases

Incorporate phrases that encourage readers and provide support throughout the content. For example, use phrases like “You can” or “You have the power to” to inspire confidence and motivation.

  • Highlight Benefits and Solutions

Focus on the positive aspects of the information being conveyed. Emphasize the benefits and solutions that the content offers to the readers. This approach creates a positive and optimistic tone, increasing the likelihood of readers engaging with the material.

  • Avoid Negative Language and Jargon

Eliminate negative language and jargon that may confuse or discourage readers. Instead, choose words and phrases that are simple, clear, and inclusive. This helps maintain a positive atmosphere and ensures that the information is easily understood.

Put your points positively, when you can.

plain language translation

I told you it was easy :) When I first realised how much of a difference being positive makes in the way we communicate with CALD communities, I couldn’t stop noticing instances where we overcomplicate our speech with negatives and double negatives!

So if I haven’t convinced you yet, here are 3 reasons why I think you should ditch negative structures and jump on the positive speech train. Specially when communicating with CALD communities!

  1. TONE
    Negative words can create a negative tone. As in

    ‘We can’t complete your request because you failed to provide identification.’

    When written positively, the effect is quite different:

    ‘In order for us to complete your request, you will need to provide identification.’

    Negatives sometimes come in pairs – called double negatives – and these can be confusing. As in

    ‘She couldn’t not sign the form.’

    Rewrite this as simply

    ‘She signed the form.’

    Text written in the positive is often shorter. As in,

    ‘The band didn’t disappoint – they didn’t play a single bad note.’

    This takes up less space when written as,

    ‘The band was great – they played perfectly.’

So now that you are on board (I hope!), here is a quick checklist that you can use to check your text for negative expressions:

  • Delete negative words – but be careful because the sentence may not make sense simply by deleting the don’ts, can’ts, won’ts etc.
  • Replace negative text with positive – Eg replace ‘not more than’ with ‘up to’.
  • Completely rewrite the text to include the nuance and inflection you wish it to have.

Staying positive on the negative always enhances understanding of your translations!

Do you want to learn more tips to be clearer when communicating with Australian CALD communities?


In plain language translation, being positive plays a crucial role in improving clarity and overall communication effectiveness. By incorporating positive language, you can enhance comprehension, motivate readers, and build trust and engagement. Remember to use encouraging and supportive phrases, highlight benefits and solutions, and avoid negative language and jargon. By embracing a positive approach, you can make plain language translation more accessible, relatable, and impactful for diverse audiences.

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