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I've started playing a video game in German for practice, and the difficulty levels (Schwierigheitsstufe) start at Einfach ("Easy" in English). This surprised me because I thought Leicht would be the best translation in this context. I associate einfach more with "simple", as in "not complicated", but the game is just as complex on this level; they just give you fewer enemies to contend with and more time to complete missions. Are einfach and leicht interchangeable in this sense, and if not then what is the difference? (The other levels are Normal, Herausfordernd, Schwer, Brutal, Albtraum & Apokalypse in case anyone is interested.)

Related: Simpel vs einfach.

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The adjectives "einfach" and "leicht" are roundabout interchangeable in most contexts, though both cover some additional ground the other one doesn't.

"Leicht" can also mean something like "lightweight", while "einfach" can also mean something like "simple", "ordinary" ("Er lebt in einem einfachen Haus"), or something like "once", "single" (compare "einfache Anführungszeichen").

To me as a native speaker, "einfach" has a bit more connotations of "uncomplicated", while "leicht" is more like "easy", "not much effort". But this difference is quite subtle, and as I said, the two are mostly completely interchangeable.

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  • Thanks. The difference between "simple" and "easy" in this sense is subtle as well. Still, there are some cases where they are not interchangeable.
    – RDBury
    Dec 24, 2022 at 10:20

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