Unintelligible judicial sentences, which seem copied from the Middle Ages. Incomprehensible scientific and medical explanations. Decrees and regulations that those who must comply with do not understand well. Self-referential jargons and obscure languages ​​against which the RAE and the group of Spanish language academies organize next Monday and Tuesday the first Convention of the Pan-Hispanic Clear Language Network, which will conclude by presenting a guide that aims to establish a chair.

The convention will be closed by King Felipe VI, as a sign of its importance, and will be opened by Santiago Muñoz Machado, director of the RAE. And throughout its two days it will address, together with the 184 institutions from both sides of the ocean that make up the Network, the problems of darkness in legislative, judicial, administrative, educational, scientific, technological language and even in artificial intelligence.

“There are many drafting defects. Archaisms are used, verbal forms that are not in common use, Latin words, many clauses are used in the speech, very long phrases, very difficult to understand. We have analyzed what the darkness of that language consists of and we have made alternative proposals on how to correct it in the guide,” says Muñoz Machado in a meeting with the press at the RAE headquarters to explain the convention.

And he points out that darkness is not only a problem for jurists. “The language of science, the language of scientific institutions, must be taken more care of when they address citizens. It is not about jurists, chemists, physicists or doctors getting rid of their techno-language, which is essential for the advancement of science. “This is the type of language they have to use when addressing citizens, especially with mandates or prescriptive communications that obligate them in some way.” “It is possible to speak clearly from any discipline,” he states emphatically.

And he explains that “plain language has become a movement. An intellectual movement, a political movement, a social movement that demands a better realization of the right of citizens to understand, to understand what public powers say when they address them. Therefore, it is defined in contrast to darkness. And the convention is based on the conviction that public authorities of all levels address citizens in a way that is not easy to understand for an average citizen, let alone for a citizen with some functional problem.

“At first,” he recalls, “the clear language movement arose in the areas of consumption and the provision of public services. They say that the first time someone protested against darkness occurred in England in relation to a consumer problem, someone who did not understand a recipe or a leaflet. The protest little by little spread and a large association was formed that demanded clear language. And it quickly became a social phenomenon.”

In the Spanish-speaking area, he emphasizes, “the movement began fundamentally in the area of ​​justice. It has been the judges and magistrates who have most perceived that his way of expressing himself is quite particular. Nor is it a contemporary phenomenon. The literature of the Golden Age is full of references to the darkness of the judges and the measures they use to resolve. In the constitutional era we are faced with the realization of a right, which is the right to understand, which is primary in that the exercise of other rights depends on it, the right to defend oneself, the right to accredit freedom of expression, to demonstrate. against any decision.”

Little by little, clear language networks have been formed in many Spanish-speaking countries, he explains, and now for the first time there is an institutional meeting. “They are not professionals, they are not linguists, they are not literature or science magazines, they are the institutions, the supreme courts, the ombudsmen, the public universities, the legislative assemblies, the parliaments, the governments, who have mobilized and they are attached to the clear language network with the commitment to improve the ways in which they address citizens.”

And he warns that “guides are proliferating everywhere, every public or private organization has an inclusive language guide, with clear language. And these guides often compromise the general regulations established by the Academy, ratifying it or deviating from its doctrine. The Academies have always been here a bit in a position of resistance or protest, purely reactive, and now we have to put ourselves in a positive position, enunciate what clear language is in the academy’s opinion and how it is developed. It seems to us that if we bring together all the agents, all the entities that are committed to this argument in a convention and present to that group a general guide to clear language, we would do a great favor to the world of language.

Among the 184 institutions that make up the Pan-Hispanic Clear Language Network are the Supreme Court of Chile or its Library of the National Congress, the Argentine Supreme Court of Justice or the Universities of Mendoza or Buenos Aires. In Spain, numerous universities, associations of solicitors and lawyers, the Royal Academies of Medicine and Engineering, among many others, the Supreme Court or publishing groups such as Planeta are part of the network.

The convention will address, among others, the language of artificial intelligence. That it be clear, that it adapts to the general academic regulations and that “they do not invent digital dialects, that each speaking machine does not have its own way of speaking, because we will fragment the language. We have already gotten the majority of large corporations to use RAE linguistic tools to train their machines.”

And the meeting will also talk about another language that goes one step beyond the clear: accessible language. “It is a language that can be understood beyond clarity by people who have some type of functional deficiency, whether due to genetics or acquired by illness or age, when abilities are lost,” reasons Muñoz Machado, who admits that “it is a “A matter of enormous importance because communications are directed at people who have ordinary abilities, but there are millions of people who do not have them in an aging society.”

Before the King finally intervenes to close the convention, academic Salvador Gutiérrez Ordónez will present the new Pan-Hispanic Guide to Clear and Accessible Language, “a simplified 120-page guide that serves as a template for all other guides that want to be approved.”