Google’s T&Cs harder to read than Beowulf

Beowulf.firstpageFollowing on from past posts about readability – Translating through the fog; and The Writer’s Diet test; as well as a great guest post on Lessons in powerful writing (from a lawyer…) – last week I came across some new text analysis software in an article about a browser plug-in called Literatin, which provides a Simple Measure of Gobbledygook (SMOG) score.

Researchers from the University of Nottingham have calculated that the updated version of Google’s latest terms and conditions is harder to read than Beowulf or War and Peace. 😉

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Translating through the fog

The other day I came across this nice clean web-based tool which calculates the Gunning Fog readability score for a piece of text. Just for fun, I put a few sentences from a translation I was then doing (on VAT legislation!) into the tool. It came up with scores ranging between 23 and 29.4 depending on the sentences I chose.

Gunning Fog is not the only readability indicator – others include Flesch-Kincaid, SMOG (Simple Measure of Gobbledygook), and Coleman-Liau.  A comprehensive article by Ronald & Ruth Reck describes a number of them in detail. There are also lots of simple online tools available.

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