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Cutting the jargon down to size with WordBank

  • By Paul Crichton
  • 25 Apr 07, 10:33 AM

The Disability Rights Commission will be running a trial of WordBank definitions for complex words on their website during May and June of this year.

WordBank is a multimedia definitions library. By clicking a link on a page, a pop-up window appears that provides text, audio, pictorial or video explanations of difficult to understand words and phrases. It is anticipated to be of most value to users with learning difficulties, or those whose first language is not English.

There are some examples on the website that show how it works. The WordBank text definition for ‘allegation’ is, “when somebody says that someone else has done something wrong, but there is no proof yet.” It is illustrated with a sequence of images of a person making a complaint to a policeman.

The Disability Rights Commission is inviting feedback on the definitions during the trial. It will be interesting to see how useful it proves to be in the real world. Certainly, there is every reason to believe it will be a success, as WordBank has been developed with the assistance of various organisations such as Mencap and the RNIB.

The service is clearly aimed at larger organisations. Implementing WordBank on a website will cost upwards of £999.

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