WHY YOU NEED PLAIN LANGUAGE
All industries and sectors benefit from improved communication. Readers benefit when they can understand and use information. And organizations gain improved branding, efficiency, and effectiveness of communications products. A plain language standard provides all sectors, in nearly all languages, with a set of guidelines and strategies to make information more accessible and effective.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published a plain language standard:
ISO 24495-1:2023 Plain language — Part 1: Governing principles and guidelines.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Learn about how the plain language standard can benefit communication in different sectors, such as law, government, health, and business.
What areas of expertise does the standard benefit?
The standard will help improve written communication for everyone. See what it can do for these areas of expertise.
(Note: if you are viewing the documents in this section on a mobile phone, use the Google Docs app to see the best formatting.)
- Finance and insurance
- Human resources
- Information technology
- Legal writing
- National standard-setting bodies
Read the latest news and announcements about the ISO plain language standard.
- Plain language standard press release
- Standards, training, certification: An update from the International Plain Language Federation (PLAIN e-journal)
- Update on the International Plain Language Standard (Editors Weekly blog post
- An International Standard for Plain Language Practitioners (PLAIN Canada CLAIR article)
- A plain-language standard: A tool for all of us (Michigan Bar Journal)
- The ISO plain language standard: For most languages and cultures, and for all sectors (The Language Portal of Canada)
History of the Standard
Read more about the history behind the standard on the Developing the ISO Standard page.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Are you interested in learning more about the ISO standard, how your country can adopt it, or how to join the team advocating for the standard’s adoption and use? Follow the links below to be a plain language advocate!
- Guide to adopting the ISO plain language standard
- Checklist for adopting the ISO plain language standard
- How to get involved in developing the standard
- Join the localization and implementation committee: message us through the contact form at the bottom of this page
BUY THE STANDARD
The standard must be purchased from the ISO to read and use it. Organizations will be able to purchase the standard from the ISO store or your own National Standard Body (NSB). Purchasing from the NSB can be less costly when buying multiple copies, or sharing it within your organization on an intranet. Find your NSB.
The current standard is for guidance only and is not intended to formally certify documents, individuals, organizations or training.
The International Plain Language Federation has established a Certification Committee that is developing suitable systems and requirements to enable certification, and it will make further announcements as that develops.
If you have questions about the ISO standard, the International Plain Language Federation’s work on the standard, or how the standard can help your organization, please fill out the contact form below.