You don’t need a thesaurus and a decoder ring to understand the Federal Reserve’s rate pronouncements anymore.

Even so, it helps to have a translator to guide you over the occasional inscrutable patches. Here is a translation of the Fed’s Dec. 11, 2007, rate policy statement.

What the Fed said What the Fed meant
FED:

The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to lower its target for the federal funds rate 25 basis points to 4-1/4 percent.
Translation:

The Federal Reserve’s rate-setting Open Market Committee cut its target for the federal funds rate a quarter of a percentage point, to 4.25 percent.
FED:

Incoming information suggests that economic growth is slowing, reflecting the intensification of the housing correction and some softening in business and consumer spending. Moreover, strains in financial markets have increased in recent weeks. Today’s action, combined with the policy actions taken earlier, should help promote moderate growth over time.
Translation:

It appears that the economy is slowing because home sales and house prices are falling, and businesses and consumers are being more careful about their spending. Financial institutions have been forced to make big writedowns in recent weeks, and they’re leery about lending to one another — and the Fed’s recent rate cuts didn’t seem to ameliorate those problems. Today’s rate decrease, along with the cuts of Sept. 18 and Oct. 31, should help promote moderate growth — and these three reductions might be all that the economy needs.
FED:

Readings on core inflation have improved modestly this year, but elevated energy and commodity prices, among other factors, may put upward pressure on inflation. In this context, the Committee judges that some inflation risks remain, and it will continue to monitor inflation developments carefully.
Translation:

The inflation rate has gone down when you exclude food and energy. But rising prices for energy and other commodities (such as metals and grains) could cause overall prices to rise. A possible pickup in inflation bears watching.
FED:

Recent developments, including the deterioration in financial market conditions, have increased the uncertainty surrounding the outlook for economic growth and inflation. The Committee will continue to assess the effects of financial and other developments on economic prospects and will act as needed to foster price stability and sustainable economic growth.
Translation:

The outlook is even more unpredictable than usual because of turmoil resulting from the souring of billions of dollars’ worth of home loans. The Fed will do what it has to do to balance prices with economic growth.
FED:

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; Timothy F. Geithner, Vice Chairman; Charles L. Evans; Thomas M. Hoenig; Donald L. Kohn; Randall S. Kroszner; Frederic S. Mishkin; William Poole; and Kevin M. Warsh. Voting against was Eric S. Rosengren, who preferred to lower the target for the federal funds rate by 50 basis points at this meeting.
Translation:

Everyone voted for a quarter-point cut except the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, who wanted a half-point reduction.
FED:

In a related action, the Board of Governors unanimously approved a 25-basis-point decrease in the discount rate to 4-3/4 percent. In taking this action, the Board approved the requests submitted by the Boards of Directors of the Federal Reserve Banks of New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, and St. Louis.
Translation:

The Fed reduced the discount rate, also by a quarter-point. That’s the rate that the Fed charges for loans directly to member financial institutions. This action makes money more easily available in the financial system. Seven of the 12 Federal Reserve banks requested the discount rate cut.