Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
About Chinese: Simplified or Traditional?
Thread poster: Guohuan Chen
Guohuan Chen
Canada
Local time: 03:02
English to Chinese
+ ...
Sep 17, 2010

In many project offers, the outsourcers insist to ask the Chinese translators which langue is their native language: the Simplified Chinese or the Traditional Chinese. Although it is an interesting question, it is really a wrong question. All Chinese only have one native language, Chinese.

My native language is Chinese of China mainland, where the official writing system is simplified from the traditional system. Because Hong Kong and Taiwan are actually (not officially) separated from mainland, they conserve the traditional writing system. In fact, wherever people live, in mainland or in Hong Kong and Taiwan, most of the high educated Chinese can freely write and read both traditional and simplified writing systems. In addition, there are plenty of word processing applications that can easily transform these systems. Therefore, the native Chinese seldom precise which writing system (traditional or simplified) they use. For us, there is only one native language, Chinese.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:02
English to Spanish
+ ...
Only one? Sep 17, 2010

I know practically nothing about China and have never been there. However, I have heard that people from different areas cannot understand one another; that is they speak different dialects that are not mutually intellegible. However, one person assures me they can all read and understand the same stuff.

So all Chinese only have one native language, Chinese? I've heard of Mandarin and Cantonese plus others. Please explain...


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Guohuan Chen
Canada
Local time: 03:02
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
About Mandarin and Cantonese Sep 17, 2010

Mandarin and Catonese are two speaking forms of Chinese.
Catonese is one of the Chinese dialects, which is very popular in Guangdong province. Catonese is well known in the world because there are many Guangdong people immigrating abroad. Another reason of the Catonese's popularity is the support of HongKong, where many famous cinema artists who speak Catonese are raised. In Taiwan, there are at least two dialects considered as "official languages", but Catonese is not included. The first official language of Taiwan is "Guoyu", which means "official Chinese", whose prononciation system is the same as that of mainland, and we call it "Madarin".
Madarin is a new created speaking system of Chinese, which is accepted as standard oral language by most of native Chinese and all of the world. Its prononciation is based on the dialect of Beijing region, and it have been polished by the linguistic experts for about one hundred years. It is the only officially accepted Chinese in all activities of the UN and all other formal situations.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:02
English to Spanish
+ ...
Accepted Sep 17, 2010

Accepted, standard or whatever you want to call it... but the people everywhere speak what they speak, and in many cases that is surely not the standard, officially accepted version, at least not from what I see. There must be quite a bit of variety, so to say there is but one Chinese language... well, it doesn't wash.

I'm just trying to educate myself here, and perhaps others who might be interested, so it would be helpful if you could directly address my statement, which is: "to say there is but one Chinese language... well, it doesn't wash."

Is that a correct assessment or not? If not, why not?


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Guohuan Chen
Canada
Local time: 03:02
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
In some meaings, there is not only one language for all Chinese people Sep 17, 2010

In China, there are not only many dialects of Hanyu (Mandarin, Cantonese, simplified and traditional versions), which is speaken by the majority nation, and which is called Chinese in English , le chinois in French, and китайский язык in Russian. There are more than fifty minority nations, at least half of whom have their own speaking and writing systems, and these systems are formally accepted in all legal cases. In addition, there are some TV channels, newspapers, and magazines are in the languages of these minorities. In this meaning, we can not say that there is only one language for all Chinese. But in the meaning of translation, when we say Chinese, it just means one language, although it has two writing systems and hundreds of dialects.


[Edited at 2010-09-17 21:33 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:02
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
There is only one form of "Mandarin" Sep 18, 2010

There is only one form of "Mandarin". The use of the word "Chinese" generally should exclude any of the dialects found in China, including Cantonese.

With that being said, we have to admit that a lot of differences can be found between the Mandarin spoken in Taiwan or HK (Which is written in the traditional way) and that spoken in China ( which is written in the simplified way). So, simply converting from one to another with software might lead to serious damages/losses on the part of the end users of the document.

Therefore, simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese should be considered as 2 unique languages. The difference between them is way larger than that between British English and Amercian English.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:02
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thanks Sep 18, 2010

Thanks for telling the truth although it appears difficult for you to do. We do not expect well over one billion people (Chinese) to all speak the same language. As much as you resist telling us so, we do not exclude any Chinese. After all, are speakers of any of the many dialects found in China not Chinese?

Those of us who are native speakers of English can truthfully say we all understand one another fairly well. Those of us who speak Spanish can understand one another with even less problems than English speakers because Spanish is a very well-regulated language, and both are languages that have been imposed by colonial powers, so they tend toward uniformity.

Chinese is not in that category.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Guohuan Chen
Canada
Local time: 03:02
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Mandarin vs Chinese Sep 18, 2010

jyuan_us wrote:

There is only one form of "Mandarin". The use of the word "Chinese" generally should exclude any of the dialects found in China, including Cantonese.

With that being said, we have to admit that a lot of differences can be found between the Mandarin spoken in Taiwan or HK (Which is written in the traditional way) and that spoken in China ( which is written in the simplified way). So, simply converting from one to another with software might lead to serious damages/losses on the part of the end users of the document.

Therefore, simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese should be considered as 2 unique languages. The difference between them is way larger than that between British English and Amercian English.


Mandarin just means standard speaking way of Chinese. Although it is called "Pu Tong Hua" in mainland, "Guo Yu " in Hong Kong and Taiwan, except some newly adopted expressions from other languages, there is absolutely not any difference between mainland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.


Is the simplified Chinese totally new created writing language? The native Chinese would say no. It will be very hard if somebody wants to find absolutely new created word in symblified writing system. Instead, almost all the "simplified" word could be found in the traditional writing system. The "simplified" words are just some writing forms of the ancient Chinese, and they are not more than the results of the standardization of cockamamie old writing language. In this meaning, the Simplified Chinese does not escape from the Traditional Chinese, it is Traditional as well.

[Edited at 2010-09-18 10:06 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-09-18 10:39 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-09-18 10:41 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Guohuan Chen
Canada
Local time: 03:02
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Your logic is interesting. Sep 18, 2010

Henry Hinds wrote:

Thanks for telling the truth although it appears difficult for you to do. We do not expect well over one billion people (Chinese) to all speak the same language. As much as you resist telling us so, we do not exclude any Chinese. After all, are speakers of any of the many dialects found in China not Chinese?

Those of us who are native speakers of English can truthfully say we all understand one another fairly well. Those of us who speak Spanish can understand one another with even less problems than English speakers because Spanish is a very well-regulated language, and both are languages that have been imposed by colonial powers, so they tend toward uniformity.

Chinese is not in that category.


As you typed:"After all, are speakers of any of the many dialects found in China not Chinese?", it is an interesting question. I think it is not necessary to explain the cultural meaning of Chinese people, who maybe speak Chinese with many dialects, who maybe speak English, French, Russian, and other langues, who maybe write in two "different" ways, who maybe speak sign language, who maybe write Braille, who maybe have not mastered any of the writing languages, and even who may have not yet acquired any of the speaking forms.

Maybe it is true that the "native speakers of English can truthfully say we all understand one another fairly well", but for French, many of my French professors said that they could not communicate with rural people in Frence, in Quebec and other bilingual provinces of Canada, although they considered that they all speaked French as their native language.


[Edited at 2010-09-18 10:37 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

QUOI  Identity Verified

Chinese to English
+ ...
Can't remember who said this... Sep 18, 2010

A language is a dialect with an army and a navy.

[Edited at 2010-09-18 12:49 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Guohuan Chen
Canada
Local time: 03:02
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I agree Sep 18, 2010

Antipodean wrote:

A language is a dialect with an army and a navy.

[Edited at 2010-09-18 12:49 GMT]


Very good summary, thank you!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:02
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
China and Taiwan were isolated from each other for about 30 years Sep 18, 2010

During which time, THE traditional Chinese used in Taiwan and THE Simplified Chinese used in Mainland China evolved in their own ways, from which huge differences have resulted. An example is that one particular word, which is written and pronounced the same way in both sides, means "extremely sad" in China but "very happy" in Taiwan.

Even today, unique new words are being adopted into the formal written systems of each of the types of Chinese.

Is it a feasible practice to automatically converte traditional Chinese into Simplified Chinese and vice versa? It depends. It would be OK if you are translating a press release because the readers won't care much about it. On the second day, the published news article will become a junk. What about a computer game? The end client might be at the risk of loosing the entire Twaiwan market because the players might find the traditional Chinese version automatically converted from Simplified Chinese not enjoyable or hard to understand.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Guohuan Chen
Canada
Local time: 03:02
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I agree with some region particularities Sep 18, 2010

I partly agree with the argument of jyuan_us about the region particularities. Even in China mainland, some expressions have totally different extensions in different regions, but that language is not more than Chinese. On the topic of the traditional and simplified writing systems, I have not still found any grave problem processed by computer applications. Open the Chinese simplified version of BBC website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/zhongwen/simp/?c) and that of Chinese traditional version (http://www.bbc.co.uk/zhongwen/trad/?c), I believe it is processed by a softeware applicaiton, every siplified character just corresponds with a traditional character. there not exists any particularity, except some style differences.
Here is the first five paragraphes of the article entitled in Traditional Chinese version.
北京、上海、深圳、香港,以及發生「9·18」事件的瀋陽都有民眾示威,要求日本釋放被扣留的中國漁船船長詹其雄,並高喊「日本人滾出釣魚台」、「美國人滾出亞洲」等口號。

中國警方在日本各駐華使領館外戒備。北京、上海的示威初期沒有遭到干預,後來警方曾採取驅散行動。

與此同時,中國各主要城市也同時舉行了官方的「9·18」事件紀念活動。

一些示威者在表達對日本不滿之餘,也批評中國政府在處理撞船事件上態度軟弱。

中國外交部發言人姜瑜在向美聯社發送的傳真中說,相信中國人民能以理性的態度來表達其訴求。

Here is the first five paragraphes of the article entitled in Symplified Chinese version.
北京、上海、深圳、香港,以及发生“9·18”事件的沈阳都有民众示威,要求日本释放被扣留的中国渔船船长詹其雄,并高喊“日本人滚出钓鱼台”、“美国人滚出亚洲”等口号。

中国警方在日本各驻华使领馆外戒备。北京、上海的示威初期没有遭到干预,后来警方曾采取驱散行动。

与此同时,中国各主要城市也同时举行了官方的“9·18”事件纪念活动。

一些示威者在表达对日本不满之余,也批评中国政府在处理撞船事件上态度软弱。

中国外交部发言人姜瑜在向美联社发送的传真中说,相信中国人民能以理性的态度来表达其诉求。



[Edited at 2010-09-18 21:14 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 07:02
Japanese to English
Correct me if I'm wrong, but... Oct 2, 2010

I understand that there's Mandarin (putonghua), which is the standard Chinese dialect promoted by the Chinese government. But I know that Cantonese also has a vibrant written and spoken culture, and that many of the characters used in writing Cantonese are either rarely used or used in different ways in Mandarin. For example using 嘅 in Cantonese where a Mandarin speaker would use 的, or how 'eat' is written 食 in Hong Kong but mainland speakers use 吃 instead.

So going back to your original topic, maybe that's the reason why agencies and job posters prefer to specify 'Simplified' or 'Traditional', because they want to be sure the translator has the right background needed to translate their text.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Guohuan Chen
Canada
Local time: 03:02
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Cantonese: never a written language Oct 4, 2010

Just want to remind TransAfrique that so-called Cantonese is just an oral dialect, if you can find a formal text written in "Cantonese", which have some differences from traditional or symplified Chinese, I could say that I was wrong...

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

About Chinese: Simplified or Traditional?

Advanced search






PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »
Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search