Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton
pne

Eschew obfuscation

I read this in the Niue News recently:

Say That Again: Veteran language experts on Niue are reported to be struggling to translate some complex phrases used in the draft copy of Niue Foou or A New Niue - Cyclone Recovery Plan. Examples of difficult English to Niuean translations cited: "the impact on terrestrial biodiversity...substantial mortality of native species.. non state actors...society is interwoven ... needs in a holistic manner...prioritisation and costing...bullet point summary... internally displaced population...robust regimes.. costed development activities...our society is divided in to portfolios, departments and villages..." The draft report was reportedly compiled with experience from the cyclone Heta recovery committee, the economic development and planning unit, New Zealand's Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management and the United Nations Development Programme.

To me, what this says, more than anything else, is that the people drawing up the original English version of the document appear to have used language that is far more obfuscated than necessary—typically bureaucratical buzzword-dropping. "needs in a holistic manner", in particular, sounds more as if the person wanted to sound grand than that he wanted to get a meaning across. Feh.

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