The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #166900   Message #4022055
Posted By: Charmion
03-Dec-19 - 11:47 AM
Thread Name: BS: in the beginning and now
Subject: RE: BS: in the beginning and now
My husband, known here as CET and elsewhere online as Himself, recently started working on a doctorate in law. The other day, he brought me a draft of a document his advisor calls a "framework statement" though it looks to me remarkably like a thesis proposal. It's about a Canadian legal case called Stillman and its effect on the jurisdictional reach of courts martial and the civil rights of military personnel.

I strongly believe that even the most complex idea can be stated in simple declarative sentences using basic words. I also believe that one does not fully understand any concept until one can state it in simple declarative etc. I was able to read the thesis proposal, replete as it is with terms of art, and restate it in plain words, thus probably earning a gig as a thesis editor.

But that's how I earned my living for more than thirty years. I'm an editor, and most of my clients were professionals whose projects typically end with extensive reports, especially engineers and program managers. Much of that time, I worked in the Department of National Defence, known to many as Jargon Heaven. Editing is painful and exacting, especially when its purpose is to convey complex information to intelligent but uninitiated readers who have a lot of competition for their time and attention. My clients knew they needed me if they wanted their projects to be funded. Many did not enjoy the editing experience, and some resisted it quite fiercely. These latter clients most resented the "dumbing down" of their special language, seeing it as an attack on their professional standing and authority.

But the few clients who sought out and even enjoyed the editing process had one important thing in common: they all wanted to share their ideas and experience, first with me, and then with any and every other person in the world.