Easy language – a vital key for opening up the world
Access to society is significantly shaped by the ability to read and understand what is written. Understanding newspaper articles, advisers, letters, employment contracts, travel timetables, websites and schoolbooks allows people to understand the world and access society. For people with learning difficulties the way texts are currently written in our society presents a huge barrier to being able to participate in a self-determined way. Josef Ströbl, an expert on the basis of his own experience and a pioneer of easy language, gives his vision for the future on the website “Gemeinsam einfach machen” [Making it simple together]: “My dream is to be able to read official letters without having to have someone explain to me first what it says”. To get closer to this vision of the future, Lebenshilfe has been working for several years to remove barriers in written texts for people with learning difficulties and for the comprehensive distribution of information in easy language.
Rules to combat complexity and in favour of simplicity
Easy language is a written and spoken language that is very simple to understand. Thanks to clear rules, easy language attempts to convey complex matters so that people with learning or literacy difficulties or those with limited knowledge of German can understand information and contexts of meaning. Under the slogan “Nothing about us without us!” its rules have been developed with the involvement of people with learning difficulties and are regularly reviewed and adapted. For example texts in easy language only contain familiar words, without abbreviations, and feature common phrases, short sentences and special layout guidelines (font size/font type/line spacing). Explanatory pictures should make the texts easier to understand. The most important thing of course is that texts in easy language are checked by people who themselves have difficulties to ensure they are understandable.
We comprehensively advocate the removal of text and language barriers
With our own Easy Language Centre we comprehensively advocate the removal of barriers to understanding in Hesse and throughout Germany. In our training centre we offer in-house seminars and in-depth training on easy language. For example we give course delegates the skills to translate texts into easy language and tailor their style of collaboration with a test group. In our translation office we translate websites, letters, brochures, contracts and other texts from difficult to easy language for clients. Our revision centre, which we run in cooperation with the Lebenshilfewerk Marburg-Biedenkopf, gives a final polish to texts in easy language and guarantees that your translated texts are understood by the target group as well. You can find out more about our extensive activities on the following pages. We look forward to hearing from you.