A “search engine” for business jargon translation: Unsuck It!

As a journalist who spends most of his days talking to hi-tech companies about their products, I hear a lot of business jargon. PR firms send me emails that make shameless use of terms like “best of breed” and “value proposition” and “bleeding edge” to describe these products.

With so much of this terminology flooding into my inbox and into my ears on a daily basis, it’s sometimes hard to keep it from polluting my writing.

That’s why I love this site, Unsuck It. Enter in a term that sounds fairly business jargon-ish to you and see what kind of results you get. Some of the translations are dripping with somewhat NSFW snark, but others are just refreshingly clear. For instance, it translates “action item” into “goal.” “Run it up the flag pole” translates as “test it.” “Drill down” translates to “explore details.”

Do these translations seem refreshing to you? As someone who reads press releases every day, I love the clarity. When I’ve had  a long, hard day or when I’m really stressed and in a rush to get something done, it’s tough for me to read something that’s filled with jargon like this. Most likely I’m not going to absorb much of what I read, much less retain any of it.

Writers and readers often don’t realize how much the writing out there is degraded by terminology like this, whether it’s business-speak or slangs and idioms in general that are simply crutches for lazy or inexperienced writers. Sometime culling your text of these little phrases can make a the writing much clearer and much more pleasurable and memorable to read.


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