Readability of OHS documents – A comparison of surface characteristics of OHS text between some languages
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Readability of documents, including occupational health and safety (OHS) documents, is a key factor in their adoption and application. The author uses two measures of English readability favoured by the US for health communication, and in defense communications respectively. Also included is the use of measures for Chinese, Japanese, Malay/Indonesian, and Spanish. One measure, McLaughlin’s (1969) SMOG formula, was also trialed on documents in five languages other than English. The tests included parallel texts from China, Europe, Malaysia and the US, and also parallel texts in English, Chinese and Spanish, and on like topics (except for Turkish where available choices were limited). On the data obtained, it is suggested that the SMOG test with modified criteria may be applicable to Finnish, Hungarian, Malay, Spanish and possibly Turkish. Readability of the OHS documents on the measures used varied quite widely, both within and between languages. To put this in context, some internationally comparable literacy results for mid high school students are presented.
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