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Posted by ESC on June 20, 2003

In Reply to: Gag posted by Shae on June 20, 2003

: : : : : : Hi.

: : : : : : Could anyone help me with the following paragraph? I do not quite understand.

: : : : : : A number of research studies show that in order to achieve the recognized credibility required to be a legitimate or trustworthy candidate for the purpose of appropriation within the news net, individuals or groups attempting to mobilize alternative definitions of the situation are often forced to accommodate or adapt to the narrow confines of legitimized topic parameters.

: : : : : : Thanks a lot.

: : : : : This is a clearer version of what I think that writer was trying to say: "If you want to be taken seriously, you have to pretend to think like everybody else."

: : : : What I want to know is, who wrote this stuff?

: : : The county department of public health here is advertising for a senior nutritionist. Following is the job description that appeared in a local newspaper. I've made no changes beyond substituting a dash for the city name.

: : : Job Description:
: : : Designs and coordinates participant focused scope of work for these Areas including monitoring of timeliness and adjustments or amendments needed or suggested to meet overall objectives. Develops long-range goals and specific objectives for these strategic campaign areas. Supervises and acts as the lead for one of several Nutrition Service campaign areas, including, but not limited to: ____ Unified School District, City of ____ Seniors and Public Health Department Community Health.

: : : Participates in collaborative activities in public health community and acts as representative for campaign assigned to. Makes strategic recommendations for collaborative efforts among key stakeholders in community, taking an active and leadership role in mobilizing efforts to meet mutual needs.

: : Sounds like a political job for somebody's nephew. Translation: Look good and have lunch with the right people. Attend meetings where nothing is accomplished but seeing and being seen.

: Pythagorean theorem: 24 words.
: The Lord's prayer: 66 words.
: Archimedes' Principle: 67 words.
: The 10 Commandments: 179 words.
: The Gettysburg address: 286 words.
: The Declaration of Independence: 1,300 words.
: U.S. Government regulations on cabbage sales: 26,911 words.

Don't get me started. I'm a government worker and my job is to translate governmentese into plain English. The people I work with fight me every inch of the way. Added to the mix is the fact that some of them are also lawyers, engineers and scientists with a jargon all their own.

A good example of a term I struggled with: volatile organic compounds. I was working with an environmental agency and was trying to write about VOCs being released into the air. Nobody could or would give me a good plain English definition. One day I had a blinding insight -- VOCs are just fumes. Paint fumes, gas fumes, etc. That's all.