Definition

Bullfighter

Bullfighter is a software application that searches documents for jargon, overworked terms, and unnecessarily complicated sentences. The program, which can be run in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint on Office 2000 or XP systems, works like familiar spell-check and grammar-check programs. The software detects what it calls bullwords, suggests alternate terms, and assigns a "Bull Composite" score based on the clarity of the writing in the document. The program includes a 350-word bullword dictionary and provides users with the ability to add their own terms.

Bullfighter was developed by Deloitte Consulting. According to a CNET news article, Deloitte admits that they have, in the past, been responsible for spreading jargon and fuzz terms such as "synergy," "paradigm," and "extensible repository." In testing the software, Deloitte used Bullfighter to evaluate documents from a large sample of companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Among the study's findings: more jargon in a corporate communication tended to indicate financial trouble for the company in question. For example, Deloitte Consulting partner Brian Fugere said that the language in Enron's documents "got progressively more obscure as they got deeper and deeper into trouble."

The application is no longer offered or supported by Deloitte but is freely available from the Bullfighter Web site. Windows XP is the recommended platform. From the Bullfighter site: "This version of Bullfighter does not work with MacOS, Palm, Unix, Xenix, Linux, Spandex, Kleenex or anything else you were going to ask about." Here's how they describe the product: "Bullfighter is the epoch-defining software that works with Microsoft Word and PowerPoint to help you find and eliminate jargon in your documents... Bullfighter includes a jargon database and an exclusive Bull Composite Index calculator that will allow you to see -- in an actual window, on your PC display, live -- just how bad a document can be."

This was last updated in June 2007
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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