Chinese is the world’s most spoken language by number of native speakers and is native to China, Singapore and Taiwan, with many Chinese-speaking communities across the world. There are many varieties, and most are mutually intelligible. By far the most common spoken variety is Mandarin.
Chinese is written in either Simplified or Traditional script, so translation will depend on the locale required. Traditional Chinese is normally used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and most Chinese communities outside Asia (although this is now changing as Chinese communities overseas are now receiving more people from mainland China). Simplified Chinese is used in most of China and in Singapore.
Chinese uses characters to write with, which are hugely fun. The character “人” (ren) means “one person”. Put two together and you get a new character: “从”, which means “to follow” (i.e. one person after another). If you put a third 人 in, it makes “众”, which means “crowd”.
Normally around 30% shorter than English.
Where to start? There are so many differences it’s impossible to list them all. China is huge, fast changing and very different. Localising text into Chinese requires in depth knowledge of a host of cultural and linguistic differences as well as keeping up to speed with regulations (did you know the Chinese Government recently tried to impose a ban on puns in advertising? Thus far it hasn’t been particularly successful).
Notable Grammar and Spelling Differences
Full stops: The Chinese full stop is a small circle。Not a dot. A separation dot is used between first and last names of foreigners (e.g. John • Smith).
Commas: Different types are used dependent on whether items are in a list, or not. They are also normally vertically centred，like that one. Or this one, if used in a list: 、
Quotation marks: Usually like this: “…”
Apostrophes: Do not exist in Chinese and as such are often dropped- even when writing Western names such as O’Donnell.
Numbers: The comma and decimal point are used in the same way as in English.
For more information contact us here: Chinese Translation Services.