VOLUNTARY USE OF THE STANDARD
Does this mean ISO now owns all we know about plain language?
The existence of the standard does not mean ISO owns plain language. ISO standards simply present information that the experts involved have agreed on. In ISO’s description of what standards are, it says that “Standards are the distilled wisdom of people with expertise in their subject matter and who know the needs of the organizations they represent.” Standards are just “a formula that describes the best way of doing something.”
No one owns the information that is in an ISO standard.
Will I now be required to use the ISO standard?
No, you will not be required to use the standard. It is a voluntary standard that people can choose to use or not use. The only way you might be compelled to use the standard would be if your employer, or your client, required you to.
Where does this apply? Who's going to enforce it?
The standard can be applied by anyone who wants to use it. It is a voluntary standard, so there is no enforcement activity associated with it.
What if I don't agree with/use the standard—will the standard police come after me?
The standard can be applied by anyone who wants to use it. It is a voluntary standard, so there is no enforcement activity associated with it (for example, there is no standard police).
I could not afford to be accredited by ISO, so what's the point?
Anyone can buy and use the standard. You do not have to be certified against the standard to use it. Also, at this stage certification in relation to the standard is still just an idea being explored. Even if certification becomes available for the standard, you don’t have to go through the certification process (unless your employer or clients require you to).
The standard will help you to increase your credibility as a plain language practitioner. It will also help you build and enhance your brand.