Monday, August 07, 2006

A basic rule of punctuation

It looks as though Rogers lost out when the CRTC ruled that:

The agreement "shall continue in force for a period of five years from the date it is made, and thereafter for successive five year terms, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party."

really meant that the contract:

"allows for the termination of the [contract] at any time, without cause, upon one-year's written notice,"

Another possible solution would have been to rewrite the sentence in Plain English, possibly in shorter, well-connected sentences. Asking the opinon of another person, preferably not connected with the item, might have revealed the flaw.

A technique used in translation may have helped: that of writing the original message in a two-column box and the "interpretation" in the other. Each translation unit (cluster of words connected by meaning) would appear on each side of the box and should be the same.

No comments: