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ABOUT CHINESE


There has been a recent breathtaking rise in the popularity of translation into the various Chinese languages. Doubtless a barometer for future direction. "Chinese" is an umbrella-phrase for several languages and dialects, many of which are incomprehensible one to another, with speaking being wholly incomprehensible and writing being only half readable between dialects. Chinese services are performed directly in the target market including Beijing, Hong Kong, Tei Pei Taiwan, Singapore, and other. Chinese to English projects are translated in the United States or London then reviewed in Beijing or the proper area.

MANDARIN - MAINLAND
Mainland China, the largest market, has consolidated under the Mandarin language, although several regions still retain their regional language preferences. Within Mainland Mandarin, there are several dialects that affect pronunciation and word usage, such as spoken in Singapore and other areas. Dialects may use different pronouns, expressions and/or have very heavily differentiated spoken accents. The greatest changes that affected the Western world occurred with the loosening of the governmental controls on communications and business. Since the time when the people in China entered the world of computers and technology, international business has taken an entirely different spin, with people and companies drawing close to each other across the Pacific. Yet, there is another hindrance to doing business in China, and that is the difference in writing - ABC versus Chinese characters. (Important: see "Simplified-Traditional" below)

MANDARIN - TAIWANESE
Mandarin in Taiwan, though comprehensible to a certain extent to Mainland counterparts, has very strong word differences, and sentences are in slightly different order in many cases. Even main business words such as "internet" and "microchip" are entirely different in Taiwan than on the Mainland. Therefore, in business, special marketing effort is advisable from one area to the other. Additionally, just a few years ago there was a very serious threat of war between the two parts of China, and emotional hangovers of this nature do not disappear instantly. Lastly, Taiwan does not share the writing style of Mainland China. (See also "Simplified-Traditional" below)

CANTONESE - HONG KONG
Cantonese is an entirely different spoken language than Mandarin. A person from Hong Kong will look at a Chinese character (word) and pronounce something entirely different than a person from Taiwan or Beijing. A Cantonese speaker has no clue what a Mandarin speaker is saying, unless they studied the language. The main Cantonese translation market is centered on Hong Kong, though many people in Southern Mainland China also speak Cantonese. Now that Hong Kong has been reabsorbed into China proper, the use of Mandarin is increasing, and, as is the way with all languages, Cantonese is already picking up Mandarin words into their vocabulary and Cantonese sentence order is beginning to change to reflect Mandarin preference. (Important: see "Simplified-Traditional" below)

CHINESE IN THE UNITED STATES AND BRITAIN
Immigrants to the United States, Britain and other English speaking countries came from all regions of China, both Mandarin and Cantonese, having emigrated over the course of the last 20 years. Thus, the Chinese in America and England are a bit like the wildlife in Australia ... they have been separated from their roots for so long, that their language has become a dialect, and changes in the "real" Chinese languages have not crossed over. For example, the word for "internet" "pound sign" and other technological expressions are completely different in Asia, never having evolved in the States. Additionally, Cantonese and Mandarin translations absorb large numbers of American English words. Thus, banking or financial Chinese translation for the U.S. will be scattered with expressions in English such as "money market", which leave the Chinese in China clueless as to their meaning. Yet, if proper banking terms were used (rather than English for "money market"), U.S. Chinese are often lost. To solve this dilemma, in some Chinese translations, client may wish to consider using both expressions, the Chinese and the English, so that both groups of speakers comprehend. But this is not the end of the complications. Chinese speakers in the United States often do not read the same character set. (See "Simplified-Traditional" below)

 

For information on Chinese fonts, characters and writing, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More on Mandarin Chinese translation services.