Language Modification

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Language Modification

Language modification of written English content may be required to improve the accessibility of written material for deaf users of that material. Language modification involves reformulating written English texts to produce a 'plain English' version, taking into account the language needs of deaf readers.

English is a second language for the majority of deaf people, especially congenitally deaf people. In order to learn spoken language, one must a) be exposed to the language and b) be able to hear and reproduce the sounds needed for speech production. Deafness, therefore, is a barrier to spoken language acquisition, which means many deaf people find it challenging to learn English to native level. As written English requires knowledge of spoken English, even written English can be challenging.

Language modification involves using a range of techniques to modify the written language in order to make it more accessible for deaf readers (it may also help non-English speakers too). These techniques may include:

  • Changing passive voice to active voice

  • Splitting complex sentences into simple sentences

  • Replacing low frequency words with high frequency words​

  • Adding explanations around technical terms/jargon

  • Employing visual aids where possible to explain concepts

Language Modification Service

Some examples of texts that may need to be modified for deaf readers include:

  • Teaching resources and classroom materials (handouts, worksheets, PowerPoints)

  • Fact sheets and information leaflets (healthcare information, brochures, leaflets)

  • Letters (referral letters, appointment letters, business correspondence) 

  • Contracts and terms and conditions

  • Websites

 

Modifying written English texts requires training in order to ensure the text is suitable for the end user. We offer a language modification service carried out by appropriately qualified staff, including staff who hold the Signature Level 3 Award in Modifying Written English Texts qualification.

If you are interested in training in modifying written English texts, we also offer the Signature Level 3 Award in Modifying Written English Texts qualification. Please contact us for more information.