The Institute works for the promotion of plain language, encouraging authorities to use appropriate, clear and comprehensible language. Our plain-language experts monitor the status of plain language and participate in the public debate on the subject. The Institute also has a biennial award for promoting plain language. We base our plain language work on reports and research.
We carry out plain language work through information, counselling, training and lobbying. On the Institute’s website, authorities can find the latest information, tools, guidelines and recommendations for plain language. Our experts contribute to the Hyvää virkakieltä (“Plain language”) column in the Official Journal of Finland. Upon request, the Institute issues statements on the linguistic interpretation of administrative texts. Experts from the Institute participate in terminology work in various fields, as well as in plain-language projects and working groups. The Institute especially works to develop plain legal language, the language used in health and social services, and “EU Finnish”.
The Institute participated, for instance, in the creation of Finland’s first decree on plain language in 1981 and of the requirement for proper language in the current Administrative Procedure Act in 2003. Furthermore, the Institute was represented in the Working Group for Clear Administrative Language (2014) and was a co-organiser of the campaign for plain administrative language in 2014–2015.
Plain language work also applies to officially adopted names, such as names of government and municipal offices, as well as administrative and functional names given by authorities to, for instance, municipalities, provinces, educational establishments, traffic junctions and streets.
The Institute’s name planning function issues statements on names and assists in name planning. Questions on individual names can be placed through our helpline.