PLAIN 2017 Conference Program (June 2017)

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Thursday September 21


Conference Venue RESOWI-Zentrum, Universitätsstraße 15, 8010 Graz

14:00 – 17:00

01. Cathy Basterfield: ‘Improve Communication - Improve Customer Relationships’

02.  Marie Antaya: ‘Teaching Plain Language - Are you a trainer or performance consultant?’

03.  Charlene Haykel: ‘Reducing information overload as part of plain language measures’

Reception of the Mayor of Graz    

Hauptplatz 1, 8010 Graz




Friday September 22


Conference Venue RESOWI-Zentrum, Universitätsstraße 15, 8010 Graz

8:00 – 10:00

Opening session

Lecture Hall / Hörsaal 15.03, RESOWI-Centre


Welcome addresses:

- Organizing committee: Dr. Neil James and Prof. Dr. Rudolf Muhr

- Dean of the Law Faculty: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Stefan Storr

Plenary session 1 (Chair: Neil James)

Lecture Hall / Hörsaal 15.03, RESOWI-Centre


04. Keynote 1: Ingelin Killengreen: ‘Plain Language work in Norway’

05. Keynote 2: Robert Waller: Plain language and information design: an essential partnership’

   Coffee Break

Lecture Hall / Hörsaal 15.03, RESOWI-Centre


06. Keynote 3: To be confirmed: ‘Financial services and PL’

07. Keynote 4: Claudia Poblete: ‘PL and government administration: Spanish speaking initiative’


Friday afternoon parallel sessions 1

13:30 – 15:30

Session 1

Theory of Plain Language 1 (Chair: Rudolf Muhr)

Lecture Hall HS 15.03.

08. Neil JAMES: Worst words: are they getting worse?

09. Kathryn Catania | Katherine Spivey: ‘Universal plain language – from Sweden to West and East Africa

10. Kate Harrison WHITESIDE: ‘The solution to persuading sceptics—training

11. Greg MORIARTY: But we don’t want to dumb it down

Session 2

Plain Language country reports (Chair: Robert Linsky)

Lecture Hall HS 15.04.

12. Claire O’Riordan | Clare McNally: ‘Using Plain English to improve customer relations in Ireland’s public services’

13. Grzegorz Zarzeczny: ‘Plain Polish – a successful project’

14. Benedikt Lutz: ‘From “bürgernah” to “Leichte Sprache”: Approaches to plain language in German speaking countries’

15. Vera Gergely: ‘Introducing plain language in Hungary’

Session 3

Plain Language and design (Chair: Karel van der Waarde)

Lecture Hall HS 15.02.

16. Christine Smith: ‘Clarity by Design’

17. Sejal Patel / Susan Kleimann: ‘Balancing Information Design with Organizational Constraints in Fannie Mae’

18. Bente Karmann Tranberg: ‘Tax and Plain-language - guiding citizens to information, understanding and mastering of the digital tax-system’

Session 4

Plain Language and immigration (Chair: Benedikt Lutz)

Lecture Hall HS 15.01.

19. Alexander Tokarev: ‘“Refugees welcome” – The Impact of Living Plain Language in North-Rhine-Westphalia (Germany)’

20. Chiara Fioravanti / Francesco Romano: ‘A proposal for tools and methods to increase the use of plain language in administrative procedures about immigration’

  Coffee Break

Friday afternoon parallel sessions 2

Parallel sessions

16:00 – 17:00

Session 1 cont.

Theory of Plain Language 2 (Chair: Marlene Peinhopf)

Lecture Hall HS 15.03.

21. Kathryn Catania | Katherine Spivey: ‘The Ups and Downs of Promoting Plain Language: Updates from the U.S. Plain Language Action and Information Network’

22. Frances Gordon: ‘Plain language practitioners need to learn about modular content - luckily we have a headstart’

23. Shelly Davies: ‘Plain isn't bland!  Making plain language more appealing!’

Session 5

Plain Language and business (Chair: Günther Schefbeck)

Lecture Hall HS 15.02.

24.  Sara Rösare: ‘To make plain language a part of your tone-of-voice – experiences from a Swedish insurance company’

25. Anne-Marie Chisnall: ‘Empowering you — making the most of your untapped business intelligence’

26. Cathy Basterfield: ‘Who is my Customer?’

Session 6

Plain Language Software (Chair: Ingrid Olsson)

Seminar room LS 15.01.

27. Isis Kosina: ‘TextLab – Software for corporate language improvement’

28. Wolfgang Kahlig: ‘The visualisation of complex legal matters via computer – The Austrian tenancy law as an example’

Panel 1 (Chair: Tetiana Tsygankova)

Lecture Hall HS 15.01.

29.  Panel: Helena Haapio | Marika Salo | Tetiana Tsygankova

 ‘Communicating contracts more effectively

Panel 2 (Chair: Alexander Tokarev)

Lecture Hall HS 15.04.

30. Panel: Alexander Tokarev | Anki Mattson | Margrethe Kvarenes | Vera GERGELY | Claudia Poblete Olmedo

 ‘Are Plain language techniques applicable across languages? A panel to compare and discuss different approaches to plain language’

PLAIN Association general meeting (AGM)

17:30 – 19:00

Gala dinner Schlossberg


31. Joe Kimble: ‘Myths and misconceptions about Plain Language: A 30-year collection’

Saturday September 23


Conference Venue RESOWI-Zentrum, Universitätsstraße 15, 8010 Graz

8:00 – 10:00

Plenary session 2

Lecture Hall / Hörsaal 15.03, RESOWI-Centre


32. Keynote 5: Markus Nussbaumer: ‘Verständliche Gesetze: Wozu, für wen, mit welchen Mitteln und in welchem Verfahren?’ / ‘Comprehensive laws: What for? Whom for? Achieved by what means and which methods?’

33. Keynote 6: Peter BYDLINSKI: ‘Die Neufassung des österreichischen Code Civil – ABGB’ / ‚Rewriting the Austrian Code Civil – ABGB’

34. Keynote 7: Christiane Maaß: ‘Verständlichkeit durch Leichte Sprache in Justiz und Verwaltung’ / ‘The German Easy to Read Concept „Leichte Sprache“ in legal communication’

   Coffee Break

Saturday morning parallel sessions


Session 7

Plain Language and law (Chair: Joe Kimble)

Lecture Hall HS 15.03.

35.  John F. Wilson: ‘Clear Laws for small countries’

36.  Josiah Fisk: ‘We Don’t Want to Write It, You Don’t Want to Read It: The Quest to Find Business Value in Legally Required Customer Letters’

37.  Angela Rae: ‘Drafting by committee: challenges when litigation documents are prepared by large groups of lawyers’

Session 8

Plain Language evaluation (Chair: Claire O’Riordan)

Lecture Hall HS 15.04.

38.  Neil James | Susan Kleimann: ‘Will it work? Evaluating plain language communication’

39.  Heidi Bunæs Eklund: ‘User involvement and impact measurement – two sides of the same coin?’

40.  Sanja K. Skaar: ‘Measuring the effects of plain language work – Success stories from Norway’

Session 9

Plain Language Success stories 1 (Chair: Claudia Poblete)

Lecture Hall HS 15.02.

41.  Rudolf Muhr | Marlene Peinhopf: ‘Clear language in the kindergarten - Improving customer satisfaction in the public domain’

42. Annasara Jaensson: Introducing a new grant to new target groups – experiences from inside The Swedish National Board of Student Aid’

43.  Elsa Castro: ‘Social Security – Using plain language to promote the exercise of citizenship’

Session 10

Author talks (Chair: Cathy Basterfield)

Lecture Hall HS 15.01.

44.  Anki Matsson | Sara Rösare: ‘Mission: Revision. A book about improving texts written by others’

45.  David Daly | Gertrude Daly: Plain English for Doctors and Other Medical Scientists

46.  Marie Antaya:Eclectic Writing Series - Author Submission’

Panel 3

(Chair: Robert Waller)

Seminar room LS 15.01.

47. Panel: Robert Waller | Helena Haapio | Stefania Passera | Jenny Waller

 ‘Simplifying business contracts: language and design working together

Panel 4

(Chair: Jana Goldman)

Seminar room LS 15.02.

48. Panel: Jana Goldman | Peter West

 ‘Plain Science


Saturday afternoon parallel sessions:


Session 7 cont.

Plain Language and Law 2 (Chair: Markus Nussbaumer)

Lecture Hall HS 15.03.

49.  Margrethe Kvarenes: ‘In awe of the law – legal rewriting from a language expert’s perspective’

50.  Günther Schefbeck: ‘Legal Language and Legal Taxonomy - Experiences and Requirements’

51.  Aino Piehl: ‘A plain language website for legal Drafters’

Session 11

Plain Language and medicine (Chair: Karin Hansson)

Lecture Hall HS 15.04.

52.  Karel van der Waarde: ‘Plain language in health: Can understandable information improve the use of medicines by patients?’

53.  Beate Wiegard | Beate Zschorlich: ‘“Head lice: Nothing to be ashamed of” – Evidence-based health information for hard-to-reach target groups’

54.  Sarah Lane | Tara Droog: ‘Men’s Cancer Prevention and Health Literacy’

Session 12

Plain Language and training(Chair: Christine Smith)

Lecture Hall HS 15.02.

55.  Peter Walton: ‘The Plain Language Certificate Program –one of the world’s only university programs in English plain language’

56.  Frances Gordon: ‘How to localise plain language training programmes in diverse cultures and languages’

Session 13

Easy language (Chair: Christiane Maaß)

Lecture Hall HS 15.01.

57.  Alexander Tokarev: ‘How to Make Reading Fun – An Appeal for Using Plain Language - News in Language Education’

58.  Rosa Margarita Galan Velez: ‘Seven ways to avoid technical words in a digital era’

Session 14

Linguistic aspects of Plain Language (Chair: Jana Goldman)

Seminar Room LS 15.01.

59.  Ingrid Olsson: ‘He or she or hen – the birth and establishing of a gender neutral pronoun in Swedish’

60.  Joanna M. Richardson: ‘Gender Neutral Pronouns in English: Is Singular They Here to Stay?’

61.  Víctor González-Ruiz: ‘The excess of nouns in legal texts and its impact on comprehensibility: the case of Spanish legal translations’

  Coffee Break

Saturday afternoon: Closing session

(Chair: Rudolf Muhr and Neil James)

Lecture Hall / Hörsaal 15.03, RESOWI-Centre

15:30 – 16:30

62.  Miguel Martinho: Plain language in the public sector: first findings of an international survey’

63. Farewell address by the organizing committee / Verabschiedung durch das Organisationskommitee

Social Program

17:30 – 18:30

Guided tour through the old town of Graz

Sunday September 24

09:00 – 17:00

Trip to Weinstraße


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