Translating Legalese into Plain Language

I have to believe that taking a legal document and putting it into “plain English” is not just a skill, but an art. In the field of law, most documents, including the laws themselves, are written in such a way that it may be nearly impossible to understand if they’re not put into a more simplified form of language that the average person can understand.

Take a cellphone contract for example. This is something that most people wouldn’t bother to read, set aside the length, but due to complicated legal language that is confusing and complicated. If not for laws that allow these kinds of things to be reduced down to where the average person can interpret the meaning behind it, it may be impossible (not to mention probably more lengthy) and convoluted to where it would be difficult to make sense of. In understanding the simplified version of the meaning behind the contract, someone can sign a cellphone contract and be aware of what they’re getting into.

In ensuring understanding, it’s imperative to know what is being said in any legal document. Knowing the structure of legal language can help in taking it and putting it into a way that someone not well-versed in legalese can understand. Not only is it important, but it can be the reason someone interprets the law to mean something entirely different than what is intended. I hope in my career in law that I can help to put things into words anyone can understand.

– Amy Platteter

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