Conference presentation

Enabling Digital Inclusion through Controlled Content Simplification

Presented atIII Action Week for Global Information Sharing (AGIS '11), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), 1st-2nd December 2011
Publication date2011

According to Wikimedia Foundation's last biennial report, when talking about universal access to information, we are broadly referring to an ideal reality where every single person is given free access to the sum of all human language. Wikipedia, the largest portal of information covering about 270 languages of the world, has been pursuing that goal over the last 10 years. E-communication, digital inclusion and accessibility, however, not only refer to internet connection or ICTs availability, but also to the quality and usability of the information and services that the users are given access to. Simple English Wikipedia (SEW) is a participatory initiative that focuses on text simplification as a way to reach a broader audience, including non-native speakers, children, elderly, adults with low literacy skills and people with functional diversity. Turning a complex text into a simple one implies rewriting the content clearly and simply by applying a set of linguistic-and-style rules, such as lexical substitutions or syntactical simplifications. Through an accessible style, readers can reach a higher level of comprehension. Nonetheless, this treatment of the text must not only be seen as an operation to improve reading easiness, but also as a potential pre-edition phase to optimize the source language content for translation purposes. Since English Wikipedia's and SEW's articles are not always parallel and sometimes have been created independently, we applied a state-of-the-art language control checker to a set of complex articles to evaluate the impact on the translatability. Both versions (complex and simple) have been automatically translated into French. The machine translation output from both has been evaluated by native speakers from different countries considering two parameters: informativeness and simplicity. Results have shown that SEW is a source of valuable content to perform translation tasks. On the other hand, increasing Simple Wikipedia's popularity could also encourage human translators (professionals or community members) to perform their task more smoothly and efficiently, and therefore, create a multilingual, alternative and more accessible-for-all digital information portal, easier and in less time.

Citation (ISO format)
RODRIGUEZ VAZQUEZ, Silvia, BOUILLON, Pierrette. Enabling Digital Inclusion through Controlled Content Simplification. In: III Action Week for Global Information Sharing (AGIS ’11). Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). 2011.
  • PID : unige:39843

Technical informations

Creation08/26/2014 4:30:00 PM
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