Jargon sniffer

Via Random Neural Misfirings: a New York Times article (free registration required) reports that Deloitte Consulting has developed a program that recognizes jargon in documents. It’s intended to help people write better business English. The program is called Bullfighter. It works like a spellchecker in word processing programs to spot words regarded as jargon.The firm held a competition to find undesirable words:

bq. “We got over 10,000 submissions,” Ms. Hardaway said. “Some of the most hated were `leverage,’ `bandwidth,’ `touch base,’ `incentivize,’ `inoculate,’ `bleeding edge,’ `robust,’ `synergize’ and `envisioneer.’ ”

It’s not clear what a writer should do if told by the program, ‘Think about replacing “leverage” with something else’. It may be hard to think of an alternative, the article says.

The program can be tried out here. Words can be added to the list. To quote the FAQ:

bq. Q: I frequent pubs in the UK and frequently get requests for Bullfighter. Is this another Yank software tool that doesn’t recognize the Queen’s English jargon?
We’ve included British spellings of common bull terms. However, we may have missed a few terms, just as you may have missed a few pubs. Be sure to submit British bull terms we’ve missed.

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