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Versions of Chinese
There are two variations of Chinese written languages: Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. Simplified Chinese is the result of reducing some strokes from the traditional characters to make it simpler to remember and write.

Simplified Chinese or Traditional Chinese
Chinese is used in mainland China and Singapore while Traditional Chinese is used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and overseas Chinese communities.

Country / Region
Written Language
Spoken Language
Mainland China
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Hong Kong
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese

In the computer realm, Simplified Chinese uses GB2312 encoding while Traditional Chinese uses Big5 encoding. They have different Windows, operating systems, application software and technical terminology. Translation departments of large corporations, therefore, treat the two versions as different languages and have separate teams to handle them.

Confused? Not to worry. If you're not sure which version of Chinese you need to use, please check with MTS. We will guide you in your selection, and help you in many other areas related to Chinese and Asian language localization. Don't make the mistake, as others have, of assuming that Chinese is a one-size-fits-all language. Let us help you make your product a success in East Asia, the fastest growing major economy in the world.

Mandarin or Cantonese
Mandarin and Cantonese are dialects of Chinese language, not written languages and should not be used when requesting written translation, though it is quite correct to use them if you are looking for an interpreter. You would also risk getting the wrong version. For example, Mandarin is spoken both in China and Taiwan, and increasingly in Hong Kong. Many people in the overseas Chinese community also speak Mandarin. When a client from Taiwan requests Mandarin translation, she or he is actually asking for traditional Chinese. If a project manager from a US agency asks for Mandarin translation to be used in Mainland China, what she or he wants is Simplified Chinese. Therefore, the best way is to verify the target region, then offer the correct version from the above list and ask the client to confirm. In this way, you will never end up with a wrong version.
Chinese vs. Japanese and Korean

While Chinese is treated equally with Japanese and Korean as an Asian language in the US translation market, the translation of Chinese is in reality much more demanding than that of Japanese and Korean. The main difference is in the translation of technical terminology.

In Japanese and Korean, all technical terms are transliterated using Katakana and Hangul. For example, "computer" will be phonetically spelled out as 'con' 'pu' 'ta' using Katakana (not conceptually translated) and it takes only seconds. While in Chinese, each term is conceptually translated into a specific word. To make things more complicated, for the same English term, different translations are used in different scientific and engineering disciplines. You need to either know the particular translation used in that particular field, or know where to look it up if you are lucky enough to be able to get your hands on the right specialty dictionary. Sometimes you can spend hours trying to hunt down one term but end up with nothing.