Ironically, Chinese doesn’t begin with the ABC’s. Often times as we sell languages we have many clients requesting Chinese interpreters and translation services, without them knowing exactly what they need. Our job is try to make this process as simple as possible for our clients. First and foremost, the main thing to remember is that Mandarin is the official language of mainland China, while Cantonese is one of many dialects within the Chinese language and is spoken in China’s eastern coastal region, including Guangzhou and Hong Kong. When your client requests an interpreter, be sure to find out if the need is for Mandarin or Cantonese.
Simplified and traditional Chinese are not languages, they are different writing systems containing sets of characters. Traditional Chinese was historically the only writing system for thousands of years and the Chinese government tried to “simplify” the writing system within the last century. Therefore 2,235 characters were simplified- thus creating “Simplified Chinese” which is used in mainland China and Singapore.
Below is a simple table to use as a reference guide:
|Target Market||Spoken (Interpreting)||Written (Translation)|
Although we quote based on a word count when it comes to translating from English into Chinese, when we translate from Chinese into English we must charge based off of characters. Remember, Chinese doesn’t have an alphabet, it uses thousands of different characters. Each character has its own subtle meaning and there aren’t any spaces between words. Getting a word count is nearly impossible since one character could be a word or two, or three characters could count as one word. Something that would take a full page in English could only take half a page in Chinese.
You can’t deny that Chinese is one of the most popular languages in our industry. As China opens up to more international relations and business, the demand for Chinese translators and interpreters grows. The Chinese have a saying: “The depth of the foundation, builds the height of the wall.” Building our foundation of knowledge about Chinese culture and language and showing cultural understanding of the different regions can help build up relations with China and Chinese companies, and ultimately build up our own business.
So which side of the wall will LTC Language Solutions be on?
-Lizzette Michel, Translation Manager