It is generally held that the sentence length (hereafter S-Length) provides useful information about the reading level of a text. However, it does not work very well as an indicator in studying translational Mandarin Chinese. To improve reliability of the length measurement, this article seeks to give an alternative account from the perspective of the sentence segment length (henceforth SS-Length), which is closely correlated with the construction load capacity (CLC) to which Mandarin Chinese is sensitive. The study demonstrates that, as far as Mandarin Chinese is concerned, the SS-Length account is more revealing than the S-Length counterpart, because the former is more relevant to language use in Chinese. It is also found that CLC, which is related to the SS-Length, is one of the determinants that contribute to the readability of a Chinese text. Hence it should be a staple part in translation assessment and translator training.
©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston