Technion Software Helps Scientists Speak Normal English


Israeli scientists have developed a software program that “translates” impenetrable scientific gobbledygook into comprehensible English, according to a report by The Times of Israel.

The “De-Jargonizer,” developed by researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and HIT–Holon Institute of Technology, automatically scans and replaces the technical and specialized language that scientists are habituated to and renders it in terms that a lay person can understand.

For example, a “myocardial infarction” becomes a “heart attack,” “aspirate” becomes “breathe.”

The De-Jargonizer, based on an analysis of 5,000 scientific papers, flags esoteric scientific terms and suggests more common language replacements. It is being made available free online.

“Scientists intuitively understand they need to use less jargon when speaking with the public than to their peers,” said Technion Professor Ayelet Baram-Tsabari, who led the research with Dr. Tzipora Rakedzon of the Technion and Dr. Elad Segev of HIT. “But using so many unfamiliar words excludes the very people they are trying to engage.”

“Jargon has an excluding quality,” Ayelet Baram-Tsabari, a Technion professor focusing on science and public engagement, told Digital Trends. “It’s like a sign telling the reader, ‘This is not really for you. You won’t understand it anyway.’”

The De-Jargonizer has many potential applications, for facilitating communication between doctors and patients, lawyers with clients, federal agencies with citizens. It will enable scientists to write more persuasive proposals for research funding, and to explain their work to the general public.

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