Plain Language Institute Services
Services offered by the  Plain Lanugage Institute  
A customer-centred approach to compliance
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Conduct a plain language audit for your organisation to:

  1. Identify documents that could be problematic for particular target audiences;
  2. Assess documents against the Evaluation Tool that we have developed;
  3. Test the information needs of the target audience for a particular document type. What is critical information from the client perspective? What are the questions or concerns they have? This will also determine the order in which information should be presented. 

Strategy formulation

Develop a strategy to address these audit results, in close cooperation with your organisation’s legal and language departments.


Write or re-write documents, incorporating audit results and strategy, in cooperation with your organisation’s language department (if such a department exists).


Test the new document with a sample of respondents to make sure that the required improvements have indeed been successful.

We work in both English and Afrikaans.  For the African languages, we have competent subcontractors.

How to get the SSASSESS™ mark on your documents
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The Plain Language Institute’s SSASSESS trademark will certify that:

  1. The Institute has assessed (and revised) this document;
  2. It follows international guidelines for plain language; and
  3. It meets the information needs of the target audience as required by Article 22 of the Consumer Protection Act (68 of 2008).

You can get this mark on your documents if you:

  1. Submit your document and the development process that you have followed to the Plain Language Institute for certification; or
  2. Contract us to assist you with the development or revision of your document.

You can request a quote for this service.

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The Plain Language Institute’s plain language course gives delegates insight into the structure, format, style and language of documents. It also gives delegates the opportunity to practise planning, drafting and editing their own writing.
They will learn to write quickly and effectively in a language that is:

  1. Unambiguous;
  2. Understandable to the end user;
  3. Plain;
  4. Concise; and
  5. Clear.

They will learn how effective layout and design can:

  1. Support the meaning of the text; and
  2. Support the logical structure of the text.

Who should attend?

Managers, secretaries, administrators, trainers or any other employees whose job it is to produce professional documents

Workshop outcomes

By the end of this course, delegates should be able to:

  1. Write concise, modern documents;
  2. Analyse their audience and understand the purpose of the document to tailor the document accordingly;
  3. Plan and organise their information according to:
    1. the reader’s needs
    2. the type of document
    3. the outcome required;
  4. Structure information logically;
  5. Lay out information so that it is clear and easy to read; and
  6. Use a style that is simple and professional, to the point, and reader-friendly.

Workshop content

  1. Understand your target audience
  2. Understand the content and the aim of the document
  3. Understand the style and tone
  4. Plan and organise the structure
  5. Write in plain language
  6. Make layout and design work for you
  7. Grammar, spelling and punctuation
  8. Proofreading (if required)

Workshop information package

Each delegate will receive an information package containing the following:

  1. An easy reference guide to writing in plain language
  2. International plain language checklists
  3. Before and after examples
  4. A selection of typical documents used in their organisation.

Delegates to the workshop must also bring their own dictionary and/or thesaurus.

Workshop duration

The duration of the workshop will be 2-3 full working days depending on the needs of the client.

Method of training

The first part of the course will cover the aspects of plain language as listed above. Delegates will then apply their acquired knowledge and skills to the typical documents to assess and rewrite them in plain language. 

The Plain Language Institute could provide continuous mentoring and support to internal resources for the duration of a plain language project.

Research, seminars, publications
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IMESA 2010

East London hosted the 74th Annual IMESA Conference in October 2010. The theme for the event, "Meeting Service Delivery Challenges" was very topical and contentious issues were addressed, which created a great platform for debate and discussion.

Dr. Slabbert presented a paper on  the legal aspects of municipal services from the perspective of the domestic consumer.

Click here to view this paper

Clarity 2010

Clarity's fourth international conference was hosted in Lisbon, Portugal, 12-14 October 2010.

The conference brings together plain language specialists, information designers and legal experts form around the world to share new ideas and promote clear communication in the public and private sectors.

We were delighted to be included in the group of 90 speakers from 22 countries, that gave presentations at the conference.

Research publications 

We recently completed a guidelines document on municipal accounts for the Water Research Commission. The guidelines define what plain and understandable language is and how it can be applied to improve domestic municipal accounts.

Click here to view the full report (4.5Mb).

Click here to view the guide: Towards standards for municipal invoices in South Africa (2Mb).

General writing and editing services
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See for more information.



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