D-Speak or Not?

Doublespeak's Opposition

Our Goals Oppose the Goals of Doublespeak

Doublespeak destroys relationships by corrupting thought, destroying communication, and eroding trust. As professional, responsible technical writers, our goals directly oppose the goals of doublespeak. We realize that, as Jones notes, technical writing is a social activity that affects and influences real people. And we realize that as technical writers, we have an obligation to serve our audience. Therefore, we strive to build a relationship with our audience by

  • clarifying thoughts and ideas
  • improving communication
  • building trust

Our Guidelines Oppose the Practice of Doublespeak

At least 2 of the STC Ethical Guidelines for Technical Communicators address issues relating to doublespeak:

  • Honesty. We seek to promote the public good in our activities. To the
    best of our ability, we provide truthful and accurate communications. We dedicate ourselves to conciseness, clarity, and creativity, striving to address the needs of those who use our products. We alert our clients
    and employers when we believe material is ambigous. . . . When we advertise our services, we do so truthfully.
  • Professionalism. We advance the technical communication profession through our integrity, standards, and performance.

Our Actions Can Help Eradicate Doublespeak

  1. We can continue to hone our writing skills. We can be careful to use correctly technical terms and jargon, and to present complicated ideas in ways that are appropriate for our audiences.
  2. We can be on the lookout for doublespeak. We can expose it for what it is, and tell others about the incongruity we see between the speaker's or writer's intentions and words.
  3. We can choose to never use doublespeak knowingly to mislead or deceive our audiences.

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©1998 by Michele Damron
Write me with your comments.
Last updated 4/30/98.