Mandarin, Cantonese and Chinese
Thread poster: Language Aide Pvt. Ltd. - Translation & Interpreting Agency

Language Aide Pvt. Ltd. - Translation & Interpreting Agency
Local time: 00:41
English to Hindi
+ ...
Jan 4, 2008

One of our client has the following requirements of translation:

1. English to Traditional Mandarin (for Taiwan)
2. English to Simplified Chinese (for China), and,
3. English to Traditional Cantonese (for Hong Kong)

My question is - is Traditional Mandarin is different from Mandarin? and Traditional Cantonese from Cantonese?

How likely an experienced English into Chinese translator will be able to translate from English into Mandarin and/or into Cantonese as well?

Strangely, neither Mandarin nor Cantonese is enlisted in Proz's Directory of Translators (I found this while searching for translators in these languages there).

Best regards,

Language Aide Pvt. Ltd. - A Translation & Interpreting Agency
91-A, 2nd Floor, Prateek Market,
Munirka, New Delhi-110067, (INDIA)
Ph: +91-11-26103904 (9 lines), +91-11-45542470
Fax: +91-11-26178601
VOIP SIP No.: +91-11-29600682

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chica nueva
Local time: 08:11
Chinese to English
Suggestion Jan 4, 2008

Hi Language Aide

I suggest you try posting this question in the Chinese language forum. I am sure the peers there will be happy to help you.


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Jianjun Zhang  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:11
English to Chinese
+ ...
Choose the right Chinese version. Jan 4, 2008


I'd like to take this opportunity to briefly clarify some common confusions regarding Chinese.

1. There are two most requested Chinese versions in the translation industry i.e. Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese. Cantonese is a dialect of Chinese, which uses certain words and Chinese characters that Mandarin never uses. If you want to specifically target Hong Kong or Macao, Cantonese should be used and a qualified Cantonese translator (native speaker of Cantonese) should be hired for such work.

2. Traditional Chinese Versus Simplified Chinese
These refer to two different writing systems. They write differently but they are the same language. People write "dialog" or "dialogue" in English, right?

Before Simplified Chinese was invented (some decades ago), Traditional Chinese was used universally by the Chinese people around the world. Later, the People's Republic of China government initiated a program to simplify the way how a character is written (hence simplified Chinese). This is a good effort intended to eliminate illiteracy of the country. Now Simplified Chinese is a writing system in mainland China, Singapore and many Chinese speaking communities around the world. But Traditional Chinese is kept and used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao and overseas communities where people emigrated from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, etc. concentrated.

Please also refer to my article here:


[Edited at 2008-01-04 10:43]

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Shirley Lao  Identity Verified
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Cantonese: Formal Writing Style versus Colloquial Writing Style Jan 4, 2008

Cantonese can be written in two different forms.

(1) A formal version which is essentially formal Standard Mandarin in written form but that does not accurately represent the spoken language

(2) A colloquial standard version that reflects spoken Cantonese more closely and is written in a mixture of standard Chinese characters and hundreds of extra characters specifically adapted to represent spoken Cantonese.

Check with your client which style he/she prefers. Clients sometimes only mean the formal style if they say they prefer "Cantonese translation", which is very similar to the formal Standard Mandarin.

[Edited at 2008-01-04 10:49]

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