Everyone should have access to all information they are presented with in a format that works for them. This may be in their native language, Braille or a less well known format called Easy Read. Global Connects provide hundreds of Easy Read transcriptions every year to various Public Sector clients under the various Frameworks we are privileged to be part of.

What is Easy Read?

Easy Read is a way of providing more accessible documents so that everyone has access to the same information in an understandable way which enables individuals to make informed decisions about their lives – this is why providing an accessible Easy Read format is so important. Starting in the 1990s, Easy Read breaks down complex written information to get messages across in a much simpler and shorter way and uses images throughout to support people’s understanding of the text. This is especially useful for non-confident readers.

Who is Easy Read for?

Easy Read is information format that was developed for people with a learning disability as a way to make information more accessible to them. In theory, a large number of people can use and benefit from Easy Read as it is essentially a short and simple version of the original material, so it can be used for those who just require a quick, simple overview of a topic. However, it is perhaps of most benefit to people who might otherwise be excluded from standard information, such as people with disabilities or people who do not have advanced English skills. For example, people with a learning disability may find it more difficult to read in general, or to take in and process complex information. Easy read does a lot of the hard work and should make it easier for many people to access information. Depending on the individual concerned, Easy Read might only make a small difference, and other formats might work better instead. However, for some people it could make the difference between them being able to understand information and not understand it, therefore granting independence in making one’s own decisions and not having to rely on others to help with life decisions.

Are there validation checks on Easy Read?

When working on Easy Read projects, the best practice is to involve the anticipated target audience in the production of Easy Read documents. For example, by checking an Easy Read document with people with a learning disability and seeing how they experience the information it enables the Easy Read producer to make any changes where relevant and to ensure the best and most accessible version possible is published and made available to end users.

Global Connects asked their Easy Read freelancer, Estelle, what she enjoys most about providing Easy Read documents, here’s what she said:

“Some of the most interesting, and challenging, projects have been working on things like political party manifestos, which can support people’s right to vote. But what I find most rewarding is when I see people with a learning disability understanding and engaging with easy read information and offering their own opinion on it. That shows to me that they are able to participate in a way that they might otherwise not have been able to do had an easy read version not been available.”

Get in touch with Global Connects if you have any questions or if you think your company may require some advice on producing an Easy Read version. Stay tuned for an Easy Read version of this blog.

Fiona Woodford, Head of Language Services, Global Connects