At a glance

Policy stage: 
Level of involvement: 
Usually free
Number of participants: 
Participant selection: 
Self selected individuals
Online / Offline: 

A variety of specialist tools enabling improved access to information for those unable to access conventional sources for differing reasons relating to language.

List of different languagesDescription

Language Accessibility Tools are widely available on the web and can assist with both the translation of language (For example, Bing Translate), and Browsealoud, which assists with literacy or sight.

Used for

Language Accessibility Tools are using for retrieving the content of websites in alternative languages and formats.


Anyone needing to access website content in alternative languages or formats.



The majority of programmes available are free.

Approximate time expense


Since the programmes are online, texts are translated automatically.

When to use

These programmes should be used to retrieve information from websites.

When not to use

Lanaguage Accessibility Tools should not be used as a means for direct translation. They are notoriously inaccurate at translating correct grammar for example, so are not appropriate as a tool to translate websites direct in the creation of new ones.


  • These tools can help to make your information more accessible to people who speak other languages or have literacy or sight difficulties, thus widening participation.
  • Use of the programmes is free, so can be accessible to many.


  • The results of these services can often be of a poor quality and will sometimes require a bit of work to make sense of the results.


The origins of machine translation are traceable back to the 17th century, with the introduction of Descartes’ universal language. However, the first Memorandum on Translation conference was held in 1956, where research into the field accelerated. Google recently announced that Google Translate translates roughly enough text to fill one million books in one day (2012).

External links


In text image credit: Michaeldb

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels CC0