Traditional Chinese is better than Simplified Chinese

Traditional or Simplified? Not all Chinese are the same!

The People's Republic of China is one of the world's fastest growing economies - so translations into Chinese make perfect sense. Even if many Chinese speak English, companies should not forego offering their trading partners communication in their national language. Most of the time, however, the questions start here: which Chinese do I offer? What are the differences? Written Chinese has two different standard character sets: simplified and traditional Chinese. But why do two versions exist and where are they used?

In the middle of the 20th century, the People's Republic of China decided to simplify the script. Chinese characters should be easier to learn both for their own population and for foreigners. In traditional Chinese, a character can consist of up to 33 single lines. In addition, in the 1950s, machine writing (typewriter) of characters was much more complicated than that of letters. All of that should change. The actual goal of simplifying the characters and designing a replacement font for the characters did not quite work out, but a simplified version was developed for over 2000 characters. The number of single lines per character could be reduced by half on average.

Why weren't all characters shortened?

Simplifying tens of thousands of characters is a mammoth task and cannot possibly be implemented in a very short time. The abbreviation followed certain systems, but it was not possible to simplify the total number of characters in this way. Later drafts of further shortenings were much criticized and hardly implemented. Therefore, most of the characters remained the same as traditional Chinese.

Which shape is used where?

Simplified Chinese has been declared the official standard in the People's Republic of China and is used in mainland China and Singapore. Traditional Chinese continues to be written in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau. Many overseas Chinese, such as New York or San Francisco, also continue to use the traditional characters. Since the two fonts differ considerably, it is extremely important to know your target group in order to use the correct font accordingly.

Often times, depending on the project, both versions are available in order to properly address each individual target group. Ask us, we'd love to help you.