For Chinese Translation – whether you translate into Simplified or Traditional Chinese depends on your audience – here’s a quick explanation and reference guide to help you chose correctly.
Like many languages including English, there are different dialects spoken in different places around the world, and the speakers of one dialect might struggle to understand the other. Think about the differences between American English and British English, does a car have a ‘Hood’ or a ‘Bonnet’, and when something is completed are you ‘through’ or ‘finished’.
Written Chinese translation is also treated differently depending on where the audience is based, albeit for reasons based largely on relatively modern educational choices. Historically the written language that is ‘Traditional Chinese’ was taught only to the elite. From the mid 20th century the Chinese Government decreed that in order to boost literacy a simplified set of Characters should be adopted and taught. Mainland China as a result expect to see content in simplified Chinese, whereas in areas where the Chinese speaking population either opposed the Communist Chinese Government, or were not subject to its teaching decrees, the use of traditional Chinese characters continued.
As a result for example, to the this day Hong Kong residents still prefer Traditional written language because of their prolonged period under British control. How long this will last is uncertain now that increasingly Hong Kong is coming under direct control from Beijing.
So which version should you chose for your translation?
Simplified for Mainland China and Singapore
Traditional for Hong Kong Macao
If you want to be sure – tell us where your audience is and we will advise.