The focus to date on interactive encounters has resulted in there being little research into monological texts and speeches produced in English as a lingua franca (ELF) contexts. They are, however, the very substance of what interpreters and translators increasingly deal with today. The quality of these language professionals’ performance depends to a large extent on the input they receive. From a translation and interpreting studies (TIS) perspective, understanding what makes an ELF text or speech special and different seems paramount. In this paper, we present an innovative approach to exploring what is in an ELF text. We introduce the concepts of ‘ELF density’ and ‘ELF dense spots’ to capture and visualize types and tokens of ELF features as well as clusters they form at a local and more global level across stretches of text or speech and discuss a number of methodological challenges in determining ELF density. Based on a preliminary retrospective verbal protocol and interview analysis following 26 professional interpreters’ renditions, we aim to demonstrate the concepts’ added value for TIS, but also for non-TIS related applied linguistic tasks geared towards ELF.

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