Simplified Chinese

China tops the global charts with the largest population and the second fastest-growing economy. As a result, the Chinese language has become one of the most powerful languages of all. But when it comes to ‘Chinese’, there are several distinct Chinese languages, 3 major ones are: 

  • Traditional Chinese for Taiwan
  • Traditional Chinese for Hong Kong SAR
  • Simplified Chinese for mainland China

In terms of market size and market value, mainland China significantly outranks the others. It’s safe to say that you need translation capabilities in Simplified Chinese to maximize your profit in Chinese-speaking communities.

  • The importance of Simplified Chinese Translations

In 1949, a new government was established, called The People’s Republic of China. Along with many reformations, an initiative in public education was put in place. Its mission was to simplify the traditional complex writing system so that the majority of the Chinese population who were illiterate could learn easily. Since then, it has become China’s standard writing system.

Mandarin Chinese often called Putonghua is the most popular Chinese dialect. It is the most widely used language in the world with over 800 million native Mandarin speakers. Mandarin is so common that one out of five people around the globe speaks this language.

4 tips for translating Simplified Chinese

1. Chinese is a heavily metaphoric language

China has a rich culture full of legends, folk tales, and literary legacy. Chinese people adore their traditions and use a lot of idioms and metaphors. In addition, good manners and politeness have always been highly appreciated throughout history. The result is that Chinese people are not as familiar with expressing themselves in a straight-to-the-point way as the Western, instead, they prefer using metaphorical images.


A professional translator, therefore, must enrich themselves with not only vocabulary and grammar but they also should dive deep into Chinese culture because changing the metaphorical image causes a detachment from the original, especially in the case of a literary text is definitely a bad choice.


A loose translation eliminating the metaphoric element could be a decent choice in non-literary texts where the imagery used isn’t crucial, such as in tourism documents.


In a novel, we may want to preserve the author’s style, allowing the culture to shine through rather than “adapting” the text too much; for a travel guide, we can go an easy way and prioritize the functional equivalent and simply say things as we say them in English.

2. There are no tenses in Chinese

In the Chinese language, there are no different words for describing past, past perfect, present, or future tenses. For things happening in the past, they simply add a 了(le). 


Although this simplifies the Chinese grammar significantly, the Chinese text might appear to be too ‘vague’ as compared to its fellow English. As a result, there’s an enormous ambiguity to compensate for when translating.

3. It’s harder to find proper names in Chinese

In most languages with the Latin alphabet, names are written with capital letters. In Chinese, however, there’s no such thing. On top of that, Chinese people love their metaphorical images and use them to name their children to express their parents' hope and blessing. It may cause translators a serious headache. 


Here is a useful trick: Oftentimes, some characters that don’t have meaningful connections among themselves can probably be a name. This trick isn’t perfect all the time. Therefore, the only way to be a good translator is through years of learning the culture.

4. One word can serve as a verb, adjective, and even a noun

The Chinese language is not only lacking in tenses, Chinese words also have nothing called an exclusive grammatical role which means the same word can be anything from a verb, adjective, noun to even adverb.


For instance, 好 can appear as an adjective in 好吃 (hǎochī) is delicious or literally good (to eat), but in an expression such as 好贵啊 (hǎo guì a!) it instead plays an adverb and means “so much”, “a lot” (oh, it costs so much!)


In another phrase like 我做好了 (wǒ zuòhǎo le) means an action is complete (“I finished”), 好 becomes a part of a verb. It can also be part of a noun, like in 爱好 (àihào), hobby, 好处 (hǎochu), advantage, etc.


Each Chinese character can convey many meanings, some of which can even be opposite to each other and serve multiple grammatical functions. That’s why it takes the experts such a long time to master this particular language.

Choosing the right amount of cultural sensitivity of a language can optimize translation quality without the risk of making the message sound offensive or unfaithful to its original version. Therefore, mastering both cultures and language specifics is first and foremost for a professional translator to deliver wonderful results.


If you need to translate into Simplified Chinese, give us a call today!


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What makes VTLocalize different?

We are not the market dominance, we are not the pioneer of the industry, but we enjoy an amazing growth rate current years. For us, Localization and language services is all about you and your targeted audience experience, which are fast and seamless localization workflow, managed by strict industry standards, and flawless translation at the end of production process.


Question 1: Is it possible if I just ask for proofreading services?

Yes! We offer proofreading service solely for all types of documents in more than 50 different languages.

Question 2: How much will you charge for a translation project?

We take many factors into consideration:

  • The number of pages of the document to be translated, in which specified page is 300 words or 300 characters depending on the language.
  • Language pairs: Some pairs are less common, so the service charge might be a little bit higher
  • Service required: Translation Only (TO) or Translation and Editing (TE), or Translation + Editing + Proofreading (TEP)
  • Industry expertise: The complexity of the required domain affects service charge also

Please contact us for a detail quotation.

Question 3: Do you offer video subtitling and dubbing services?

Yes.! Not only supporting subtitling and dubbing, but we also provide the service of typing verbal documents such as audio or video files.

Question 4: Do you support Image Translation?

Yes! We support translating documents from all PNG, JPG image files, and all types of documents from all files: pdf, docx, pptx, xlsx, etc. Applying optical character recognition technology in combination with latest CAT Tools, the image translation process has never been that easy.

Question 5: Will the translation be presented in proper format and retain the original structure?

For purpose of printing or publishing you may need, we provide DTP and Layout restoration services for documents using varied tools such as Adobe Framemaker, Indesign, Illustrator, Autocad to Powerpoint, Excel, etc. Under our post translation recovery process, we provide a translation with “as is” layout and be ready for high quality printing or online publishing.

Question 6: How will I receive the translation?

It depends on the your need for soft or hard copy documents. For the soft copy, we will email it to you. As for the hard copy, we will send express delivery to the correct address provided by the customer.

Question 7: When notarizing translation, I want to get multiple copies, will there be additional costs?

According to current regulations, notarized translations are not allowed to be copied, all version must be originals. So when you need additional originals, the cost will increase.

Question 8: How long will it take for my documents to be translated?

It depends on the volume, content types, required services, and other project-specific factors. But above all, your required deadline is the most important and we will rely on that to adjust the translation process and management schedule in order to keep up with preset deadline without any compromise upon quality.

Question 9: Can I request an urgent translation?

Yes! We do offer urgent translation services. Depending on specialization or length of the document, we will adjust our production team accordingly.

Question 10: What are your payment terms and methods?

We accept ATM transfers, e-banking, cash, or online payment via VISA/ MASTERCARD card, international payment services such as PAYPAL, PAYONEER, SKRILL, VEEM, etc.


Talk with experts

  • The first Chinese Language Day was held on 12 November 2010.
  • Chinese became an official UN language in 1946.
  • Science has proven that Chinese speakers use both temporal lobes of the brain at the same time.
  • Chinese has the most similar sounding words