Strengthening plain language

The International Plain Language Federation brings together plain language organisations and individuals. We promote the public benefits of plain language and improve professional practice.

Our origins

The Federation emerged at the 2007 PLAIN conference in Amsterdam, where three major organisations decided to work jointly on developing plain language as a profession.

The Plain Language Association International (PLAIN), Clarity and the Center for Plain Language each nominated two representatives and between them selected another six experts representing a range of countries and languages. This became the International Plain Language Working Group.


The Federation met for the first time at the 2008 Clarity conference in Mexico City, where it started to map out an agenda. This led to a preliminary options paper released at the 2009 PLAIN conference in Sydney and formally published as an options paper in 2010.

Since then, the Federation has met almost yearly at international conferences in Stockholm, Washington, Vancouver, Antwerp, Dublin and Graz.

Our agenda

Current tasks

The Federation is currently focusing on three tasks:

  1. Translating and promoting its standard definition of plain language.
  2. Developing an international standard for plain language.
  3. Exploring options for training and certifying plain language practitioners.
Our broader agenda

We set these initiatives as priorities after we received feedback to an options paper published as an edition of the Clarity journal in 2010. The 2010 paper sets out the broad agenda that the Federation will explore as we work to promote and increasingly professionalise plain language.

  1. The definition of plain language
  2. Plain language standards
  3. An international plain language institution
  4. Training and certification for practitioners
  5. Research and publications
  6. Plain language advocacy

You can download a copy of the full options paper on the Clarity  website.