We recently wrote about the importance of choosing the right word when communicating. In business, using jargon like gobbledygook, clichés, colloquialisms, euphemisms, confusable words or verbosity can make sure your message is ‘lost in translation’.
This post looks at the use of gobbledygook: pompous or unintelligible language often used by writers trying to sound sophisticated. Writers substitute a combination of words – often of Latin origin – to make a sentence or phrase sound more official and important. Politicians are experts at it, but in business, the legal professional and the computer industry probably tie for first place.
Individual words like the following are used to create gobbledygook:
- ‘Circular’ rather than ‘Round’
- ‘Locality’ rather than ‘Place’
- ‘Sufficient’ rather than ‘Enough’
- ‘Initiate’ rather than ‘Begin’
Sentences and phrases then develop like the following. Can you work out what they are saying?
- Forward-looking companies invest in integrated modular mobility.
- Our upgraded model now offers total administrative contingencies.
- We now offer diplomas in knowledge-based relative projections.
- We need a more blue-sky approach to responsive management time-phases.
Modern Manglish: Goobledygook Made Plain (see image) is a comical Australian book explaining the problems of the information superhighway bringing more text to our door than ever before, most of which gets ‘mangled’ along the way.
Next post, we will explain clichés.