Different Chinese Translation for China and Taiwan
Due to the large area covered by Greater China (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore), there is a high diversity of spoken dialects of the Chinese language. In fact, the term dialect is somewhat misleading, since they are in most cases mutually unintelligible and can thus actually be classified as different languages.
Since Beijing has for most of the time been the capital of China and city of the emperor, the dialect of Beijing has emerged as Standard Chinese, which is now the official language of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, and Singapore, and a strong connecting force between all those countries.
Unlike the spoken Chinese languages, written Chinese is much less diversified. Most notable is the difference between the Simplified and Traditional Chinese characters. While the People’s Republic of China started in the 1950s, to simplify a larger part of the characters with the goal of speeding up the learning and writing process, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao kept the Traditional characters.
Converting a text from Traditional Chinese to Simplified Chinese and vice versa can be done, more or less, with a few mouse clicks. The real issue is not the characters, but where the translation is going to be used. Even within Standard Chinese there are local variations in terminology and grammar between China and Taiwan. These differences are similar to those between American and British English, but much larger in extent.
Generally, consumers (and thus the industry) are very sensitive to such local language variations. Especially in Taiwan, considering the history it shares with China, it is impossible to use translations done anywhere else.
This is the reason why STAR has an office in Taiwan. Besides doing translations into Traditional Chinese for Taiwan we also adapt documents into Traditional Chinese for Hong Kong.
Spoken or Written?
Which Chinese dialect do you need? Check out our simple table to help you decide …