Automatic Text Simplification

Methods and Applications in the Multilingual Society

-- 2nd Call for papers --


The remarkable development of language technology tools in recent years in terms of robustness, computational speed and volume of processed data, together with the increasing number of languages covered, made possible their usage not only for specific research applications, but also for real world applications which prove useful in everyday life. Automatic correction of text, machine translation, extraction of important information and hands-free devices are just some of these applications. Language technology now has the maturity to be used for addressing societal challenges such as helping people with disabilities, the elderly and migrants.

However, due to the ambiguity and complexity of natural language, its automatic processing is still very challenging and benefits from processing shorter and less ambiguous information. The same is true for people who have difficulties understanding text due to disabilities, or who have to read texts in a language they do not have a good command of. In all these cases, automatic text simplification can prove to be very useful.

In contrast to controlled languages, which practically create a sublanguage by imposing constraints on the grammar rules, discourse style, number of words/sentence etc., text simplification eliminates or replaces parts of sentences or paragraphs, or even reformulates them according to specific requirements of the target user groups. Among the most frequent techniques are: lexical substitution, verb forms replacement (for morphologically rich languages), word order adjustments, deletion of subordinate clauses, replacement of anaphoric pronouns by their reference, usage of synonym expressions with higher frequency as well as compound splitting.

This workshop intends to bring together scientists working in a variety of fields in which text simplification can be applied, computational linguists interested in the research problems of text simplification and of course users who can benefit from the simplified texts.

The innovative aspect of this workshop will be the discussion on text simplification from two perspectives: On the one hand, how computational linguistics applications which simplify texts can be used by people in real world situation, and on the other hand, how to simplify the input for other NLP-based applications in order to improve their accuracy. We also intend to develop a roadmap of activities, tools and resources on text simplification from a multilingual perspective. A special attention will be paid to contributions describing automatic text simplification for less-resourced languages.

The workshop will be organised in conjunction with COLING 2014 on 24th August in Dublin, Ireland, and invites papers on the following topics.


Papers are invited on the following directions:

  1. The linguistic challenges in text simplification
    • linguistic characteristics of text simplification for specific purposes (e.g. simplification for people with specific disabilities)
    • creation of linguistic resources for text simplification
    • linguistic analysis of language phenomena relevant to text simplification
  2. Automatic Text Simplification for Societal Needs
    • for people with disabilities (e.g. autism, dyslexia, etc.)
    • for second language learners
    • for elderly people
    • for better understanding of well defined genres of texts (e.g. political texts, medical texts, etc.)
  3. Automatic Text Simplification for Language Technology
    • better performance of language technology tools (e.g. MT, summarization, respeaking)
    • domain adaptation of existing simplification tools
    • adaptation of existing simplification tools to other languages

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • User scenarios and requirements from different social categories
  • Language Tools for Text Simplification
  • Linguistic challenges to:
    • perform various levels of simplification (separately or in a combined mode): phonetic, lexical, morphological, syntactic, semantic
    • process different types of clauses (e.g. illative, concessive, conditional, consecutive, adjectival, adverbial, etc.)
    • identify and remove semantic obstacles for specific categories of users
    • perform acronym/abbreviation expansion
    • address the problem of word sense disambiguation
    • identify problematic temporal expressions
    • process negation
    • detect affective language
    • identify non-literal language and metaphors
    • process anaphoric expressions
  • Applications using text simplification (e.g. obstacle free access to texts, language learning, political sciences)
  • Resources used in text simplification
  • Evaluation in automatic text simplification
Important dates
Paper Submission Deadline
25th May 2014 (extended deadline)
Author Notification Deadline
15th June 2014
Camera-Ready Paper Deadline
27th June 2014
Date for the workshop
24th August 2014 (in conjunction with COLING 2014)
Paper submission
Paper submissions for the workshop are handled by the START system at the following address:
The papers should be submitted using the COLING 2014 style files available at
Programme committee
  • Eric Atwell, Leeds University, UK
  • Eduard Barbu, University of Jaen, Spain
  • Ann Copestake, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Iustin Dornescu, University of Wolverhampton, UK
  • Richard Evans, University of Wolverhampton, UK
  • Thomas Fran├žois, University of Louvain, Belgium
  • David Gil, Deletrea, Spain
  • Vesna Jordanova, Imperial College London, UK
  • Walther v. Hahn, University of Hamburg, Germany
  • Veronique Hoste, University College Gent, Belgium
  • Elena Lloret, University of Alicante, Spain
  • Annie Louis, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Maite Martin Valdivia, University of Jaen, Spain
  • Paloma Moreda, University of Alicante, Spain
  • Hitoshi Nishikawa, NTT, Japan
  • Maciej Ogrodniczuk, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
  • Pavel Pecina, Charles University Prague, Czech Republic
  • Gabor Proszeky, Morphologic, Hungary
  • Horacio Saggion, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain
  • Advaith Siddharthan, University of Aberdeen, UK
  • Lucia Specia, Sheffield University, UK
  • Sara Tonelli, FBK, Italy
  • Hristo Tanev, JRC, Italy
  • Dan Tufis, Romanian Academy, Romania
  • Dusko Vitas, University of Belgrade, Serbia