Are a Few Colours Really Going to Help?
Humans have a very powerful visual channel – why not emphasise that? We can colour the words – wordgroups are one obvious candidate – we can indicate where there are complex objects in the text – objects like
same-institution person-to-person electronic funds transfer instruction
We can do more with a wordgroup that has a definition – we can show the complex objects in the definition – like same-institution or bank account or carry out.
That is perhaps 5% of the words – what do we do with the rest?
We could go through the document, work out what is the most common use of the word, then have a colour range for meanings ranging from the most common (white) to the least common (say purple). But this would look like a mess. It would be better only to colour words having an unusual meaning, or words where there is dissension over the meaning, or words in the glossary, or words that are unusual for the person’s specialty (so for a lawyer, all the legalese would stay black on white, whereas technology terms would stand out), or where the surrounding text does not give a clear demarcation between a meaning in the reader’s specialty and other meanings.
As the intention is to deal with large, complex documents, the ability to flit through the document, looking at things that may be hard for the person to understand, should be welcome.
This facility is not a game-changer by itself, but its completion does allow “turning over” a piece of machinery while it is still made only of words.
What Does “Turning over a piece of machinery” Mean?
It means that words, when connected together, can be pieces of machinery, and when activated, can perform similar (although abstract) functions to the real objects they represent. So a funds transfer instruction can transfer funds from one bank account to another. The text of legislation allows a programmer to write a program, but it also allows a person to simulate the operation in their head, if it is not too complicated, or learn a complex operation, like piloting a plane, at an unconscious level. Having the machine read complex text allows it to simulate what the text says, without being troubled by the Four Pieces Limit. Getting the text “clean” is an important step.