What Are Layman’s Terms?

By Stacey
Aug 17, 2015 · 3 min

Every field of study has its own means of expression.

What Are Layman’s Terms? | One Hour Translation

Most of us have been in the situation where we’ve started reading something that’s so convoluted, so advanced, with such strange vocabulary that we just didn’t understand anything. And we’re not alone in this. Perhaps this is the great thing about language: there are so many different ways of expressing terms relating to different fields. Every field of study has its own means of expression. For example: a Doctor will probably write and speak in medical jargon, that to a layperson will sound like total gibberish; a lawyer might write and speak in legalese, which is its own language containing lots of legal terminology: again, the layperson won’t have a clue what they’re saying.

What is a Layperson?

A layperson is an individual who’s not an expert in a specific area, so when speaking to a layperson one should speak to him in layman’s terms. The phrase ‘layman’s terms’ is really just another way of saying ‘plain language’: it’s a way of simplifying something that’s overly advanced or technical. It’s a way of explaining something to a person to ensure they fully understand what they’re listening to or reading.

Changing the Rules

It’s true that many countries today are mandating that certain entities use only clear and easy to understand language when dealing with the public. Imagine how you would feel if you visited your Doctor and they said to you ‘We’re sending you to a Nephrologist because your serum creatinine levels have increased which could result in renal insufficiency’. Most lay people wouldn’t understand what this means, and they would become confused and frustrated. What the doctor is actually saying is that they want to send you to a kidney specialist to check the levels of chemical waste in them, because high levels might stop your kidneys from working effectively. Well, we understand that!

Legal Jargon

Let’s have a look at another example: If Joe had challenged a contract between ABC Company and himself, would he understand the Court’s final decision? ‘In accordance with the terms specified in Act 5, Section 3, and Sub-section of Decree 66 of 1968, the governing body hereby rules that the Contract is unconstitutional and null.’ And this is exactly why some country’s laws are now requiring the use of simpler terms when speaking or dealing with the average layperson!

One Hour Translation

An experienced translator won’t be caught off guard by the use of overly ornate or specialized language. If you need your message expressed in clear layman’s terms, contact One Hour Translation. We’re highly experienced in all aspects of translation, and our professional translators are on standby, ready to provide you with prompt and highly accurate translations. Contact us for an obligation-free quotation.

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