Language levels: 6 steps to express yourself better in the right language level

Choose the appropriate language level for your texts so that they are easy to understand

Comprehensibility is not a text property. Comprehensibility always relates to the person reading it. Therefore, at capito we never examine a text on its own. We always consider who the text is made for: the target group. 

Language levels play an important role here. We will also show you 6 steps to express yourself understandably and at the appropriate language level.

capito digital helps you write in such a way that you are understood by your target group. To do this, however, you need to know which language level will reach them best. We help you find the right language level and tell you how to simplify your texts!

Table of Contents

What are language levels?

To define the almost infinite variety of comprehensibility levels of a language, capito is guided by the CEFR. The CEFR is the “Common European Framework of Reference for Languages”.

Here the language is divided into the 3 “competency levels”:

  • Level A: Elementary language use
  • Level B: Independent language use
  • Level C: Competent language use
Junge Frau prüft Sprachstufen von einem Text

There are also two levels within a competency level:

  • A1 – easiest level
  • A2
  • B1
  • B2
  • C1
  • C2 – highest complexity

For broadly comprehensible texts, the three easiest levels A1, A2 and B1 are key. capito specializes in texts for target groups who range in the language levels A1, A2, and B1.

Level A1

A1 stands for the easiest level to understand. Only simple, familiar words and short sentences are used. The contents are summarised and reduced to the essentials.

Level A2

Information in A2 explains a particular topic in such a way that readers can understand the most important information and act accordingly. A2 is more detailed than A1 and explains many important terms in a way that is easy to understand.

Level B1

Information in B1 is understandable for most people. B1 corresponds to simple colloquial language. Technical terms and foreign words are avoided so that people who are not experts in a particular field can understand everything.

How many people understand which language level?

In Austria, 91.6% of people understand language levels A1, A2, B1 and B2.


Only 8.4% of people understand the language levels C1 and C2.

The big problem: 74 % of the information issued by companies and public authorities is written in the language levels C1 and C2.

This means that a large part of the information is not understood. But reading and understanding texts are essential requirements for an independent life.

What does your target group understand - regardless of language levels?

If you want to write comprehensibly, you should first consider the posssible problems in understanding your topic for your target group. 

Only use foreign words or abbreviations if they are very familiar to the target group. 

An example: If a text is intended as internal information for the employees of a company called “ABC”, it is possible to use “ABC”. Everyone knows what is meant by this abbreviation. 

However, if the information for an external target group, for example as an advertising brochure, you must explain what “ABC” means.

Also be careful with the use of metaphors, humor, sarcasm, or irony. People with reading difficulties might not understand these. Often the wording is taken quite literally, and misunderstandings are the result.

You see: If you want to write comprehensibly, you should pay attention to more than just the language level!

What do I do if my target group consists of people with different language levels?

In this case, we recommend letting the target group decide which language level they want to read. For this purpose, you offer 3 easily understandable language levels A1, A2 and B1 in addition to your complex original information.

Person testet Sprachstufen in der capito App

The best way to do this – as is often the case – is digital: capito has developed an app that allows your target group to select their favourite language level – and also to switch between the levels again and again. Of course, this can also be integrated into your website.

6 steps to make texts more understandable

Before you start writing, think about the following 6 steps:

  1. Define the goal of your text: What exactly do you want the target group to know, do, think, or feel after reading the text?
  2. What does the target group already know about this topic?
  3. What does the target group not yet know, but should know?
  4. Which topic, word, or expression could be difficult to understand?
  5. In what situation will the target group read the text?
  6. What language level does my target group need?

One thing first: there is no simple and universal assignment of people to one language level. People are diverse, language skills change and depend on the topic, context, and channel.