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OPINION AND ANALYSIS | 14-09-2023 12:51

Connecting cultures: upcoming Plain Language Conference to be held in Buenos Aires

Later this month, Buenos Aires will host the 2023 international conference on plain language – the first edition of the event in Latin America and the first to be held in two languages.

As president of Plain Language Association International (PLAIN), I am delighted to tell you that September 27-29 we are co-hosting our 2023 international conference on plain language with the Observatorio de Lenguaje Claro en la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Buenos Aires. 

The theme of the conference is ‘Connecting cultures: creating bridges with clear communication.’

While this is PLAIN’s 13th international conference, it does break new ground on several fronts. This conference is the first in Latin America and is the first to be held in two languages: English and Spanish, with interpretation provided. Over 60 speakers will be coming from as far afield as Finland, Australia, Sweden, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as several from Brazil, Colombia and Costa Rica. 

As defined by the International Plain Language Federation (IPLF), the definition of plain language is as follows: “A communication is in plain language if its wording, structure, and design are so clear that the intended readers can easily find what they need, understand what they find, and use that information.”

This conference will highlight the work being done in Argentina to bring plain language, inclusion and access to justice to the general public. With new laws being passed in the City of Buenos Aires to promote plain language, we believe that this conference is of interest to anyone working in communications and language services or in promoting a fairer and more equitable society. 

It’s been a big year for plain language worldwide: on June 21st, 2023, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published a plain-language standard which will allow businesses and organizations to follow a benchmark to help them implement plain language policies. This is broadly based and not language specific, so this will be useful worldwide. 

All this has been achieved by a small group of active volunteers working in the following organizations: PLAIN, Clarity, the Center for Plain Language and the IPLF. It is remarkable just how much has been achieved by such a small group of people working globally. As the cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” 

Updates on the ISO plain language standard will feature at the conference, together with work from established as well as emerging experts in the field, coming from both local and global organizations. Our conference is also sponsored by local Argentine businesses such as Catena Zapata, co-operatives such Matriarca, and institutions including the British Embassy in Argentina. International sponsorship comes from the many NGOs, foundations and companies already working in this field abroad. 

The PLAIN Conference is a unique opportunity to learn from experts and to participate in the many panels on diverse topics such as legal design, AI, plain language in healthcare, plain language for juries and judges, and many other fields.

If you are based in Buenos Aires or nearby, then mark your calendar for September 27-29, and do join us!

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Joanna Richardson

Joanna Richardson

Joanna Richardson is a clear communications consultant. A British native, Joanna is an Argentine citizen who has made her home in Buenos Aires.

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