How to produce a document in Easy Read
If you provide documents for the public (including on your website) you’ll need to provide them in Easy Read if someone asks. Easy Read is a complex format to work in, especially if you haven’t got any experience. If you were asked, would you know how to get your document in Easy Read?
To explain, in brief, Easy Read makes information easier to understand for people with a learning disability. Easy Read combines clear and simple wording with images, that help to explain the text.
Easy Read can be presented as a print document, an electronic document, or a video.
Below we give you more information about the options available to make your information available in Easy Read. You could either produce the Easy Read yourself, or you can use a specialist company such as A2i to translate your documents to Easy Read for you.Take a look at some of our samples
Option 1 - produce Easy Read documents yourself
You don’t need any specialist equipment to produce Easy Read, but you will need a lot of time, and you will need to have had some training and/or experience communicating with people with learning disabilities.
You need to completely re-write your document using clear, simple language; and carefully explain any complex concepts. The words you use will depend on the level of learning disability your intended audience has – mild, medium or severe learning disability, for example.
To start, decide the key information that you want to get across. It’s important to
- write in a positive tone of voice and use an active tense
- keep words, sentences and paragraphs short
- make your document user friendly and welcoming to read.
Avoid: long and complicated words, abstract terms, acronyms and jargon! You need to think about how an individual with a learning disability might interpret every sentence you write.
Carefully select an appropriate image/photo for each paragraph that will help the end user understand what is being said. Generally photos are preferred to cartoons or drawings. If you use images of people, it is best to use people with a learning disability as the reader will relate to them better. There are various online photo libraries available to use – for the best ones you’ll need to pay for a license.
For more information about how to produce your own Easy Read, read our blog ‘Easy Read – Top 10 FAQ’s’
Advantages of producing Easy Read yourself: this might be a good option if you have short, simple documents to produce in Easy Read, that you will regularly need to update and change.
Disadvantages of producing Easy Read yourself: it is complicated and time consuming. If you don’t have the necessary skills, your document may not be accessible for people with learning disabilities.
If you have a good level of familiarity with people with learning disabilities you might find you are able to produce Easy Read yourself, but otherwise it would be best to use the professionals. You may end up producing simplified text, but that is not the same as Easy Read.
Option 2 - use a specialist company
Specialist Easy Read translation companies have the expertise to produce high-quality Easy Read documents for you, with professional photos, and can even make the document style work with your branding.
Trained Easy Read translators have extensive knowledge about readers requirements and preferences, and experience of translating all types of documents. Long and complicated documents, surveys, forms – you name it, they’ve produced it in Easy Read!
Depending on the company you choose, and your requirements, Easy Read can be supplied as accessible PDF’s (including editable forms), print ready PDF’s, Easy Read videos or printed documents.
User checking: some translation companies, including A2i, have access to a User Group of adults with learning disabilities who can check Easy Read documents, provide guidance and suggest changes or improvements if appropriate. This is vital for you if you represent a larger company, a public sector organisation or a company producing legal documents, as it affords you confidence in the accessibility of your translation.
Advantages of using a specialist company: saves you time and you can guarantee your Easy Read documents will be accessible, clear and professional.
Disadvantages of using a specialist company: you will need to pay. Think about what you need for your readers and make sure you choose a company that can meet all of your requirements.
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