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New Zealand’s plain-English awards event shows the way

[5 Dec 2012] Congratulations to the WriteMark Plain English Awards Trust of New Zealand for running a competition that helps to highlight the best and worst attempts at written communication there. You can see full details of the results, plus photos of the presentation ceremony, at http://www.plainenglishawards.org.nz/

The annual event has generated plentiful publicity for the plain-language cause in New Zealand since 2006. Although the commercial WriteMark Group set the thing going, an appealing feature of the competition is that the judges – and there are about 35 of them from all over the world – are named and independent, and the judging process is openly and clearly described. The terms and conditions state:  ‘Avoiding conflict of interest: You cannot enter a document or website that has been edited by Write Limited or a judge for that award.’

The event aims to:

  • improve government and business documents so that all New Zealanders can understand them  
  • raise public awareness of the need for, and benefits of, plain English  
  • create a public preference for organisations that choose to communicate in plain English.
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