September 2021

Information in easy-to-read language

Text: Alexandra Hörtler; Fotos: unsplash

Roughly 1,900,000 people in Austria do not read well. There are many reasons why people have difficulty reading–but they all have one thing in common: The right to accessible information. People with learning and reading disabilities come from all walks of life and have different professional backgrounds. One in ten workers, one in eight teenagers, more than half of them, have German as their first language.

Accessible information includes texts in easy-to-read language, accessible documents and websites, but also physical accessibility. Accessible information is primarily aimed at the following target groups:
Blind and vision-impaired people

  • Hearing-impaired and deaf people
  • People with limited mobility
  • People whose first language isn’t German (e.g., also tourists)
  • People with learning difficulties
  • People with a low level of education
  • Senior citizens
  • People who aren’t familiar with certain topics

Using easy-to-read language can help many people to make information accessible .

To our clients, we offer text translations into easy-to-read language in three levels of comprehensibility – A1, A2 and B1

People with A1 language proficiency can understand familiar words and very simple and very short sentences. They are able to understand if a person talks slowly and clearly, like in a classroom setting during the first two years of studying a foreign language. At level A2, sentences may occasionally be longer. The vocabulary includes frequently used expressions on familiar topics. As a reference, this level is required when you apply for a temporary residence permit in Austria or Germany. People with B1 proficiency can understand short texts in standard language, and even simple everyday texts. People who apply for the Austrian citizenship must have language skills at B1 level or above.

Five steps to easy-to-read texts

The first step is to define with our clients the target group that the text will address. There is a substantial difference if the text is aimed at people with cognitive disabilities or people whose first language is not German. In the second step, the level of comprehensibility of the target text is defined. Step three comprises the main part of the work, the translation process. We translate texts provided by our clients as well as content we create ourselves, such as content for exhibitions. Once the translation is complete, the text is reviewed by the review in step four. The review process is a crucial step for creating a well comprehensible text. The review group consists of three to four people of the target audience of the selected level of comprehensibility. The text is reviewed for its understandability and is modified until the review group deems it easy to read. The fifth and final step is the incorporation of the final comments. The text in easy-to-read language is now ready to use.

Let’s create inclusion for all together!

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