Simplification in translated Chinese: An entropy-based approach

Kanglong Liu, Zhongzhu Liu, Lei Lei

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


For a long time, translation researchers, particularly those working in corpus-based translation studies, have held the presumption that translated texts tend to be simpler in lexical and syntactical features than non-translated native texts. Such claims have led to the formulation of the simplification universal hypothesis in translation studies. However, this line of research which focuses predominantly on the investigation of individual linguistic features has failed to provide sufficient evidence to confirm the existence of the simplification universal. To a large extent, the lack of global quantitative indicators for evaluating the complexity level of the translated and non-translated texts has hindered progress in this field. The current study, using entropy as an indicator, analysed the linguistic complexity between translated and native Chinese from the information-theoretical perspective. Our research found that translational Chinese tends to be simpler than its non-translated counterpart at the lexical level based on unigram entropy, but not the syntactic level based on part-of-speech entropy. Our study has confirmed the use of entropy as a reliable measure for lexical and syntactic complexity in the field of translation studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103364
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Computational linguistics
  • Entropy
  • POS forms
  • Translation
  • Word forms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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