Investigating lexical simplification: A corpus- based comparative analysis of interpreted, L2, and native speech

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review


Based on a comprehensive corpus consisting of English speech simultaneously interpreted from Chinese (interpreted speech), English speech produced by native speakers (L1 speech), and English speech made by advanced non-native speakers (L2 speech), this chapter explores the manifestation of simplification in interpreting. The level of simplification is quantified using four lexical complexity indicators: type-token ratio, lexical density, list head, and core vocabulary coverage. While not all the lexical indicators consistently confirm the occurrence of simplification in interpreting, there is a tendency for interpreters to rely on less varied lexical options and more high-frequency words, partially supporting the hypothesis of simplification. In addition, the findings reveal that simplification is not unique to interpreting, as an even more pronounced manifestation was observed in L2 speech. Considering the highly cognitively demanding nature of producing interpreted and L2 speech, the occurrence of simplification may result from the producers’ efforts to alleviate cognitive load.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCorpora in Interpreting Studies
Subtitle of host publicationEast Asian Perspectives
EditorsAndrew K.F. Cheung, Kanglong Liu, Riccardo Moratto
PublisherTaylor and Francis Ltd.
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781003377931
ISBN (Print)9781032456270
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in East Asian Interpreting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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