China’s emergence as an economic power also means that Chinese consumers are now on the radar of many companies. China is no longer viewed merely as the world’s factory but is now considered an attractive sales market as well. As a result, it’s definitely worthwhile to invest in an English-to-Chinese translation for your products.
Tradition meets modernity
China boasts one of the world’s oldest civilisations and most sophisticated cultures. And now, over the past decades, the “Middle Kingdom” has also regained its economic dominance. Only the USA still surpasses China in terms of GDP, for example.
With its 1.4 billion inhabitants, China is also the most populous country in the world. In addition, there are approximately 23 million Chinese speakers living in Taiwan and larger Chinese-speaking minorities in many countries, primarily in southeast Asia. This makes Chinese the most widely spoken language in the world, and this enormous group of potential consumers means that an English-to-Chinese translation of your content can reap colossal benefits.
Chinese characters provide unifying framework
When we talk about Chinese, we usually mean Standard Chinese, which is the Mandarin dialect of Beijing. In addition, there are many other languages and dialects in China whose speakers do not easily understand each other. This is where the written language has a unifying function. In contrast to European languages, Chinese characters represent word meanings rather than sounds. This provides an advantage for comprehensible communication within a multilingual country. The disadvantage is a relatively complex system of characters.
Written Chinese consists of about 50,000 characters, of which you need to know at least 500 to understand approximately 80 percent of an average text. Furthermore, two sets of characters are employed: the traditional long characters used in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and the simplified short characters that are common in mainland China. An English-to-Chinese translation should ideally be completed using both character sets whenever possible to match the target audience.
Bridging cultural differences
Cultural differences play a major role in Chinese translations. You need to be aware that the source text for an English-to-Chinese translation has a contextual framework shaped by western antiquity and Christianity. The Chinese target audience, on the other hand, orients itself using contexts strongly influenced by Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism. A successful translation must be able to bridge these cultural differences so that the target audience not only understands your content but also finds it natural and enjoyable to read.
Are you planning to enter the Chinese market? If so, you should seek the support of a professional language services provider to ensure that your translated content is clear and comprehensible. SwissGlobal combines enhanced Swiss quality with an extensive global reach. We ensure that your communication is a success in all the world’s languages and cultures. Our experienced team collaborates with a network of more than 400 professional language experts around the globe.
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