A corpus-based study of syntactic complexity of translated and non-translated chairman’s statements


  • Zhongliang Wang
  • Kanglong Liu
  • Riccardo Moratto Shanghai International Studies University


Chairman’s statement, syntactic complexity, translation universals, simplification, corpus-based translation studies


The chairman’s statement of the corporate annual report plays an important role in informing the decision-making of investors. Thus, it is often targeted at an international audience. The present study compares the syntactic complexity of translated chairman’s statements (Chinese to English) and non-translated ones (English), to determine the role that translation plays in conveying the chairman’s message. The results show that translated chairman’s statements are significantly simpler in subordination as well as overall sentence complexity, using fewer verbal phrases and T-units than the non-translated ones. However, translated chairman’s statements have longer length of production units, use more coordinate phrases and complex nominals than their non-translated counterparts. The findings indicate that simplification exists in half of the 14 syntactic complexity measures, providing some evidence for the simplification universal. They also reveal that in addition to translation universals, social factors also affect the complexity level of translated and non-translated chairman’s statements. The findings of the present study contribute to a systematic understanding of syntactic features of translated and non-translated chairman’s statements, enrich the present knowledge of translation universals and provide pedagogical implications for translation teaching and training in the context of Chinese-English translation.