Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators

Winner: Best Plain Language Technical Communicator

Helen Bradford, Capire

Awards judge and friend Marja accepts Helen’s trophy on her behalf, from category sponsor TechCommNZ | Katie Haggath and Marja Stack

Judges’ comments

Helen’s skill as an editor shines through her portfolio. Her clear and persuasive communication style makes her a worthy winner of this year’s award.

The Agriculture Activity Insights report is one of the best examples of information design the judges have seen. We wouldn’t hesitate to use this document as an example of effective plain technical writing.

This clearly written and appealing report is a pleasure to read. This is a very reader-friendly document. There is a pleasing rhythm to the sentence construction and flow between sentences.

Helen has chosen to use words that are clear, familiar and precise. There’s a refreshing lack of jargon, too. The report’s tone is professional, clear, approachable and straightforward — even engaging. She clearly wants to connect with the audience, and help them understand and put the content to use.

Media statement

I am honoured to have been selected as this year’s Best Plain Language Technical Communicator, particularly given the quality of technical writing from the other finalists — Mercedes Glover from Fusion5 and Sarah Bichan from Streamliners.

I commend the WriteMark Plain English Awards Trust for once again organising the Plain Language Awards, and would like to thank all the judges and organisers for the hard work they have put in. Having been a finalist in 2022, I know how seriously the judges take their roles and the quality of feedback they provide on each application.

Like everyone involved in the Awards, I am a strong advocate for plain language. Capire [pronounced ka’] means ‘get the point’. I named my business Capire as I focus on getting my clients’ points across in plain English, so that their readers can quickly and easily understand, use, and act on the documents and publications they produce.

For this year’s award, I submitted a publication I wrote for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade about the agriculture projects it delivers in developing countries. Plain language is not only about the words we use, but also about how we use images to convey ideas. In this publication, I also designed a series of charts that would enable readers to easily interpret the complex data that the Ministry wanted to share about its projects.

I’d like to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for the opportunity to work on this publication with its evaluation and agriculture teams. I’m very grateful to all my government, NGO, and international-aid-agency clients for their continued trust in me to communicate their work clearly to the people who need to know about it.

Winning the Best Plain Language Technical Communicator award means a huge amount to me and my business. It acknowledges Capire’s commitment to plain language and how that benefits people who read our technical communications.


Helen Bradford