Chinese Spoken Dialects and “Classical” Written Chinese Language

With over 1 billion people speaking some form of Chinese, it is the most widely-spoken language in the world. Yet, within this widespread language, there are many different dialects. Historically, the Chinese have grown up speaking the dialect from the region in which they were born. If they learned to read and write, however, they learned a “classical” form of the language that wasn’t particular to any regional dialect.

Early Chinese writing was based on pictograms that evolved into characters formed by a series of brushstrokes, where each character represents a concept. The result, Chinese calligraphy, is not merely a system of writing; it is also considered a complex and refined art form. Simplified Chinese is derived from traditional Chinese, and many characters are the same in both simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese.

Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese

From the 1950s onwards, the classical (“traditional”) written language was replaced with a more “simplified” one, in order to help increase the levels of literacy in China. The language was simplified by reducing pen-strokes in many characters. The use of simplified characters has now become widespread in mainland China, while people living abroad keep using the traditional, non-simplified characters (Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao). The basic difference between the two types of characters is that the traditional form is still based on earlier characters and uses more strokes, whereas the more modern, simplified characters are much simpler.

Did You Know?

Chinese Translation Services

We provide professional translation solutions in simplified Chinese (mostly used in mainland China) and traditional Chinese (mostly used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao) to some of the world’s most well-known companies. Trusted Translations takes great pride in providing our clients with high quality, professional simplified and traditional Chinese translations at competitive prices.

Mandarin and Cantonese

It should also be noted that Mandarin is not simplified Chinese and Cantonese is not traditional Chinese. Mandarin and Cantonese are spoken languages. Mandarin is the standard and official spoken language for mainland China and Taiwan. Cantonese is a spoken language in certain areas of China (Guangdong province) and also in Hong Kong and Macao. Cantonese is a dialect used in Guangdong (belonging to mainland China). Cantonese is also one of the official spoken languages used in Hong Kong and Macao. In other words, simplified Chinese is the official written language used in mainland China, and traditional Chinese is the official written language used in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

Chinese Localization to Your Target Market

Simplified Chinese characters are used in almost all of China, Singapore and Malaysia, while traditional Chinese characters are used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao. This is important to take into consideration because if someone needs a translation for Taipei, for example, they must translate their material into traditional Chinese. Similarly, if someone needs to send a translation to Beijing, it must be done in simplified Chinese. What’s more, the use of traditional Chinese in Taiwan and Hong Kong differs somewhat from traditional Chinese used in other areas. With all of these differences, it is essential to localize the Chinese to your target market.

Chinese Translator Teams

We have assembled simplified and traditional Chinese teams, all living in different locations, so that we can localize your Chinese translation to your specific target audience, whether it is in mainland China, Macao, Hong Kong or Taiwan. All our translators have an array of skills and specialties and are knowledgeable in the complexities of the Chinese language. We custom fit the knowledge and strengths of our Chinese translator teams to your specific project and specific Chinese market needs.

Whether you need simplified or traditional Chinese, Trusted Translations is the one-stop solution for your Chinese translation needs.