Start » Blog » Easy language in France


Easy Language Podcast Episode 5:

Easy language in France with Karine Bardary (Com'access)

In our fifth podcast episode of “Easy Language” we talked to Karine Bardary, co-founder of Com’access, about the state of easy-to-understand language in France. Com’access is a small Paris-based company specializing in web, document, and information accessibility since 2015. Karine and her team have been working closely with the French government to translate their documents into easy-to-read format, known as FALC in French.

Specialized in accessibility

Com’access focuses exclusively on accessibility and targets people with visual disabilities, physical disabilities, and other accessibility issues. Their services include auditing websites for compliance with accessibility guidelines. In France, there is a guideline that requires public websites to be accessible to everyone. However, only 10% of public websites currently meet this requirement.

Karine’s personal background and journey

Karine’s professional journey began with a background in chemistry and IT project management. However, her perspective changed when her husband, who is blind, encouraged her to start her own company focused on accessibility. This led her to venture into web accessibility initially, eventually branching out into easy-to-read language in collaboration with her associate.

Com'access and the CCUV project

Karine and Com’access joined the project after receiving an invitation from Ursula Semlitsch, project coordinator of the CCUV project. The opportunity to collaborate with partners from Ireland, Italy, Switzerland and Austria intrigued them as it allowed for the sharing of best practices and experiences. Being part of a European project provides a sense of legitimacy and the chance to contribute to the development of easy-to-read language at a broader level.

Easy Language in France

In France, easy-to-understand language is called “facile à lire et à comprendre” (FALC) and has been around since 1999. Initially introduced as an Inclusion Europe project, it was implemented in France by organizations like Unapei and Nous aussi. However, the dissemination of easy-to-read guidelines was primarily controlled by these influential organizations, creating limited opportunities for private companies to contribute. Com’access was among the first private companies to focus on easy-to-read language in France, gradually increasing its recognition and impact.

The current state of Accessibility in France

Similar to other countries, France faces the challenge of making public information accessible to all. Com’access worked with the Seine-Saint-Denis department, where people often struggle with French language skills and financial difficulties. They noticed that the department’s letters were often misunderstood, resulting in missed financial assistance. Simplifying the information and using easy-to-understand language had positive results, as people better understood and claimed their entitlements.

Private companies and easy-to-read language

While some private companies in France recognize the importance of providing accessible information, progress in adopting easy-to-read language has been slow. Companies like insurance and telecommunications have taken steps to simplify information, but there is still a long way to go.

Insights from the CCUV project

The project has been running for several months and Karine especially appreciates the intercultural exchange and cooperation within the project team. Karine especially highlights the opportunity to communicate in English.

Com'acess as a pioneer of plain language in France

Karine Bardary and Com’access play an important role in promoting accessibility and easy-to-understand language in France. Their commitment to closing communication gaps and making information universally understandable contributes to a more inclusive society. By continuing to work with international partners, they hope to further legitimize and promote the adoption of easy-to-read language not only within their company, but throughout Europe.

Sounds exciting? Then sign up for our newsletter and follow us on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter! That way you’ll always be up to date. Feel free to leave us a comment if you have any questions or comments about the project.

capito easy language podcast 1

Listen now:
Easy Language Podcast

Are there many texts in Easy Language in English? How accessible are Italian authorities? And how do you write in a gender-sensitive way in French?

We asked these questions to experts from all over Europe.

Together, we talk about easy-to-understand language in the respective national languages.

Listen now on Anchor, Spotify or Apple Podcasts:

Co-funded by the European Union Logo - capito

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

This could also be interesting for you

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert