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What Are Layman’s Terms?

21796025.thbHave you ever read something that was so incredibly advanced, so convoluted, and so full of strange vocabulary that you downright did not understand anything? Well, rest assured, you are not the only one! One amazing thing about language is that there are thousands of ways to express many terms belonging to different fields. Each field of study contains its own detailed means of expression. A lawyer may speak and write in legalese, which is a type of language that contains a large amount of legal terminology. A doctor may speak and write in medical jargon that to the layperson may sound like complete gibberish.

Notice the use of the word “layperson” in the last sentence. A layperson is an individual who is not an expert in a specific field of knowledge and so, one would need to speak to him in “layman’s terms.” When speaking in layman’s terms, also known as plain language, you are simplifying what was once overly technical or advanced. Plain language assists a person so that he or she will fully grasp what he or she is reading or listening to, thus ensuring full comprehension. In fact, many countries are now mandating that certain entities use clear, easy to understand language when communicating with the public. Imagine if you went to your doctor for some general tests and he or she said to you, “We need to send you to a nephrologist due to an increase in your serum creatinine levels, which may result in renal insufficiency.” To many people, this sentence may seem quite confusing. Basically, the doctor is saying that you need to see a kidney specialist because your kidneys have high levels of chemical waste in them, and this may cause your kidneys to stop working. Take for instance a case in which someone had challenged a contract between himself and a company, would he or she understand the court’s final decision? “In accordance with the terms specified in Act 3, Section 7, Subsection of Decree 55 of 1984, the governing body hereby rules the contract to be unconstitutional and null.”

This is precisely what some laws are now requiring: to use simpler terms when speaking with the average layperson!

Have you ever been caught off guard by overly specialized or ornate language? And remember, if you need to express your message in clear lay term, contact Trusted Translations for a free quote.