Monthly Archives: January 2013

Gatfol Web Text Simplification for Language Challenged Readers

GIC 2013

Gatfol Technology…

…represents a world first, state-of-the-art, internationally
patented technology that has taken 9 years to perfect…

 …transforms high level vocabulary into clear
understandable language for semi-literate adults…

 …provides mobile users with a 20 000 word language vocabulary
even if they understand only as little as 200 words in that language…

 …acts as the magic mirror that enables almost anybody to understand
information online, no matter how complex – in areas of education,
health, security, engineering, law, finance, science…

 …runs as a cloud-based service, designed to meet
international standards of dependability and functionality…

 …for language challenged readers worldwide…

The Solution: Gatfol Web Text Simplification and Search Augmentation…


Gatfol is a provisionally patented, natural language, browser-based mobile technology that opens up the web to challenged readers in Africa and emerging economies worldwide. Gatfol technology simplifies web text instantly to match the preferred reading level of any language challenged (semi-literate) web user.

The Gatfol technology traversed a 9-year development period before patent application. This solid ground level base enables Gatfol to efficiently “translate” even large volumes of web text very quickly into simple reading components. The technology is unique in that it provides for a fast multiword-to-multiword stepwise crystallization of natural language (English) from semantic complexity to semantic simplicity and vice versa.

Gatfol also instantly translates search engine queries (i.e. Google) typed in simple language by reading-challenged users, into sophisticated web language to enable real-world keyword matching – even for complicated topics in technically advanced industries :

Gatfol has operational code frameworks available to run as a Cloud-based service or in case of confidential data streams – as a local master and slave technology to quickly simplify web language – even in-line and in real time. This confidential data stream technology can run on as simple a platform as a single desktop machine or ordinary Windows network set-up.

As an adult further education language tool, Gatfol is very cost effective. Most of the large African literacy programs carry a cost per semi-literate learner per year of around $50. Gatfol web text simplification technology brings down the costs per semi-literate learner substantially. Gatfol calculates that for just $1.80 per year, the English vocabulary of a challenged reader can be increased a HUNDRED fold – from a vocabulary of 200 words to a vocabulary of 20 000 words.

Web-enabled mobile devices using Gatfol technology also give disadvantaged users an opportunity to “see” online web language of a higher semantic complexity than by using the relatively basic English language material covered by further education programs.

Gatfol is words…words are power…

The Problem: Online Web Language and Disadvantaged Users….


Web-enabled mobile devices, tablets and notebooks across all age groups are rapidly becoming the primary media with which to access the internet in emerging markets.  In Sub-Saharan Africa, SE Asia and other developing economies, broadband connections are becoming faster and more affordable. Roughly 69% of all internet users now do so through a mobile device.

English is the “language of the web”. English language proficiency is becoming increasingly important in order to participate effectively on the internet. It is estimated that 300 million adults in Africa and 200 million adults in India have English reading skills lower than that of an average 14 year old. In many cases literacy levels drop to as low as only 200 words in English.

English literacy represents a huge barrier to using the internet. Research shows that a low literacy level is a greater deterrent to entering- and continuous use of the web than income, age, home language or occupation.

The argument exists that web language translation into English neutralises the problem of deficient English literacy levels.  Translation into English from other languages, however, is not all-encompassing or effective. Of the current 64 languages Google translates into, not a SINGLE ONE of the 16 LARGEST African languages spoken by over 300 million people are included. Many of these African languages are primary home languages, meaning that millions of people with English as the relegated second home language remain effectively “disconnected” from the web.

Another mitigating factor to web language barriers is that English proficiency is not really necessary for most web interaction which – especially in the young – centers around accessing mostly video-, music- and social network content. This is not the case. Research by the African based University of the Witwatersrand, shows that the web “connected” (English literate), are primarily drawn to- and keep on using the internet  to “find information” :

Governments worldwide spend billions on providing ground level local communication to their various communities.  A vast amount of this information is finding its way online and is growing rapidly. Government online information networks link into many hundreds of thousands of content supporting websites around the world :

This information especially, needs to be understood by language challenged-, lower socio-economic level communities. These are specifically the people that critically need easy-to-understand information on education, sanitation, health, security, food production, housing and other base-level social services :

In the next few years, it is predicted that roughly 2 out of 3 adults in developing countries will be using mobile internet resources for their information needs, with the implication that Government online communication will correspondingly become more accessible. As numbers increase, this means improved English reading skills will become an even larger asset from Government communication initiative viewpoints.

There is an additional argument supporting negation of language factors in web interaction. English proficiency and vocabulary strengths improve continuously on a broad population basis through further adult education. This implies that the internet will be more easily understood language-wise through organic educational growth rather than through short term tool application – i.e. Gatfol. Unfortunately, further adult education is expensive, takes a long time from application to results and typically has a VERY LOW success rate in terms of language vocabulary expansion.

As an example – with massive (especially African) investment in adult education initiatives, UNESCO studies show that whilst illiteracy rates are dropping, illiteracy volume numbers in various parts of the developing world are actually INCREASING – mainly because of high school drop-out rates.

To summarise, it is evident that English proficiency is an absolute requisite for efficient online interaction in disadvantaged societies. This proficiency is the essential link for effective amalgamation of online content and the special needs of lower socio-economic layers – especially with regard to national and local government ground-level communication and resource distribution.