You should use traditional Chinese characters

Translation into Chinese: Traditional or Simplified Chinese?

The Chinese languages ​​are among the most widely used languages ​​in the world. With around 867 million native speakers, the Chinese dialect Mandarin, which is also known as standard Chinese or simply Chinese, is spoken much more frequently than, for example, English.

In fact, of the approximately 7.5 billion people in the world, around 11.6% speak Mandarin as their mother tongue or second language. There is no question that Chinese therefore also plays an important role in the translation industry.

Would you also like to have your texts translated into Chinese? Then only one thing remains to be clarified: traditional or simplified Chinese?

Two different standard character sets

In addition to numerous different dialects, the Chinese languages ​​are primarily characterized by their writing system. As if the foreign characters weren't exotic enough for non-native speakers, there are also two different standard character sets: traditional and simplified Chinese.

Traditional Chinese writing was developed more than 3,000 years ago from drawings that were simplified and made more abstract, and has over 100,000 individual characters. Of these, however, only around 3,000 to 5,000 are needed in everyday life.

That is still a considerable number of characters and even if the simplest of them are written with just one stroke, there are also some that are made up of more than 20 strokes - so it is understandable that even Chinese speakers lose track of things can.

Simplification of the Chinese script

In order to promote literacy in the country, the Chinese government decided in 1956 to reform the script to standardize the Chinese script. In order to make the complex writing system clearer, one was defined as the standard for characters with several different variants, for example.

However, characters with a large number of strokes have been simplified to make them more memorable. These simplified characters are also called short characters, while the traditional, more complex characters are called long characters.

Short or long characters: Not freely interchangeable

As a result of these and other reforms, there are now several thousand characters that differ from one another in traditional and simplified Chinese.

The simplification was carried out according to various rules: While complicated components were replaced by simpler symbols in one character, only a part was retained in another, while the rest was omitted. In another character, a component was replaced by a character with the same pronunciation but with a completely different meaning.

So it is no wonder that even a native Chinese speaker does not automatically master both systems - even if one is "simplified" according to the naming. The simplified and traditional characters differ significantly from one another. And because the writing systems cannot be exchanged at will, it is all the more important to choose the variant that suits your target group.

Traditional or simplified Chinese: It depends on the target group

The answer to the question of whether you should opt for traditional or simplified Chinese is very simple: which variant is the right one depends on the country of your target group.

While Simplified Chinese became the norm in the People's Republic of China, Singapore, and Malaysia, Chinese speakers in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau have stuck to traditional characters.

So if you want to convince customers from China with your services or your new company flyer or if you want to address customers in Singapore with your online shop, then you should opt for simplified Chinese.

If, on the other hand, your target audience consists primarily of customers from Taiwan, Hong Kong or Macau, traditional Chinese is the right choice.

Make your decision now and order your translation!

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