Controlled language and readability

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Using eye tracking methodology, we investigate correlations between traditional readability indicators and controlled language (CL) rules applied to texts from the information technology domain. We evaluate the perceived readability and recall levels of the texts as well as the readability and acceptability of the texts when machine-translated into French, Spanish, and Simplified Chinese. Task time, fixation count, and fixation duration measures suggest that CL rules facilitate a marginal improvement in readability levels for texts rated as “difficult to read” by the readability indicators. We conclude that the relationship between controlled language and readability is complex and make discrete suggestions for factors that should be taken into account for future research, including text complexity, text presentation, and working memory capacity.


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