Challenges of Easy and Plain Language in Latvia [PDF]

Ieva Sproģe, Sarmīte Tūbele
University of Latvia, Latvia

Abstract: In the age of globalisation and digitalisation, the amount of information is constantly increasing. The society’s responsibility is also increasing, as there is a large part of society that needs special support in order to make this information accessible. One way to do that is being able to communicate in easy or plain language. The aim of this article is to reveal easy and/or plain language as one of the measures for an inclusive society, and pinpoint the possibilities of expanding it in Latvia, where there has been little discussion about the different use and text creation methods of easy and plain language. Therefore, professor Dr. paed. Sarmīte Tūbele draws attention to the specifics of plain language target groups from a speech therapist’s point of view and summarizes the diverse characteristics of learning disabilities. When discussing the possibilities of adjusting learning materials, she emphasises the importance of integrating quality illustrative elements into easy language texts in order to encourage the reader’s perception and interest.
Dr. paed. Ieva Sproģe discusses methods of text creation/adaptation in the context of translatology and lists criteria for processing and creating texts, as well as suitable classic translation methods, emphasising the main goal of easy and plain language – improving the ability of perceiving a text by simplifying it, i. e., making it more understandable. Subsequently, a summary of suggestions for easy and plain language text requirements and using them with target groups is provided.
Methodology: The research was carried out using literature review and a study of easy language organisations, as well as events organised by them and their guidelines.
Results: The article provides a brief summary of easy language history and describes current international discussions about easy language, pointing out both positive development tendencies and problematic aspects; the most common classifications of easy language and its target groups are described, as well as the interpretations and possibilities of classification for the concept “easy to read”; conclusions are made about the possibilities of developing easy language text creation in Latvia.
Easy language is described in the context of translating/adapting and speech therapy by collecting suggestions for easy and plain language text requirements and adapting them for the target groups. This is the first time that an easy and plain language description in a scientific, multidisciplinary context has been provided in Latvia.
Keywords: easy language, inclusiveness, information understandability and accessibility, plain language, text adaptation/translation.

In: Human, Technologies and Quality of Education, 2021 = Cilvēks, tehnoloģijas un izglītības kvalitāte, 2021
Rīga, University of Latvia, 2021. 1148 p. Ed. L. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-18-735-3