This online tool hates jargon

by 21cstories

(source: bbc.co,uk)

(source: news.bbc.co.uk)

There is a ‘core competency’ syndrome gaining ground. And it is not about anything, but the literal use of such terms. And to help overcome the syndrome, there is an online tool that helps cut the BS.

The angst about jargon runs underground in the media. The way it is thrown around in offices and content writing, it is brewing tiredness.

The use of popular shorthand codes like ‘ballpark’, ‘core’, ‘competencies’ has filtered into all forms of content marketing. And the backlash is visible in media reports and blogs that list out these terms, suggest alternatives, or in the least, create funny cartoons.

So what are writers to do, especially of the business variety?

Why we resort to jargon

  • It’s easier to write: ‘The solution integrates seamlessly with all core functionalities’ The harder way would involve thinking about the specifics to write something original and for the reader. A simple version – ‘The application works on all popular IT systems’.
  • The writer knows only as much: The truth is, a lot of writers, especially those outsourced, may not have detailed insights on the subject to convert technicalities into easily readable language.
  • The urge to impress: Official marketing content has its in-built norms of writing that derive from a larger business context. It may call for words to sound impressive, or impactful. The flip side is, when not handled well, promotion sounds result in a loss of readership (engagement or eyeballs, as they say).

Knowing the ‘jargon density’ can help

How nice it would be if there was a simple way to detect these overused terms, and highlight them for us before we went online!

And if there was a way to calculate how much of content (in a brochure, press release, website, about us page, white paper and so on) was jargon?

Once I could calculate the jargon density in my content, I could easily review it if the density exceeded a particular limit. After all, the real issue is not whether to use jargon or not, but how much of it has been used.

The jargon words hunter

Fortunately, there is an online tool that does all of this and more:

The jargon words checker – Clarity

The online tool runs on an inbuilt jargon dictionary of 800+ words compiled from reliable sources. Simply paste the content to be checked and click – you will see:

  • jargon words highlighted in your text
  • jargon density – divided into 4 levels: clean, low, medium and alert
  • alternatives to jargon words used

The utility is online, but also comes with a Word macro that can be installed in Word docs.

Try it out today and let me know how it worked for you.

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