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The Declavenizer
06/18/2003

As an editor of high-tech industry documents, I can confirm that business jargon is designed specifically to sound good while conveying nothing. That's the guiding understanding behind some new software:

New York-based Deloitte Consulting admits it helped foster confusing, indecipherable words like "synergy," "paradigm," and "extensible repository," but now it has decided enough is enough. On Tuesday it will release "Bullfighter" to help writers of business documents to avoid jargon and use clear language.

"We've had it with repurposeable, value-added knowledge capital and robust, leveragable mindshare," Deloitte Consulting partner Brian Fugere said.

I would caution writers out there to be careful about going too far in the other direction. Such words as "leverage" and "synergy" have perfectly acceptable uses. The question to ask yourself — as a writer or, perhaps more, as a reader of business documents — is whether the words clarify or obscure the meaning and whether they are obviously inserted for decoration or weight. To be fair, however, through my experience writing grant proposals, general copy, and internal documents for bureaucratic purposes, Iíve found that it is often difficult to avoid the vague-speak when the questions being asked (often with undue gravity) are silly or simply meaningless.

My tolerance for the language, of course, excepts such new, unnecessary, and meaningless coinages as "incentivize," which I've refused to add to my spellchecker to this day.

Posted by Justin Katz @ 12:35 PM EST