Posted By P & L Blog

There are two forms of written Chinese: simplified and traditional.  Simplified is used in mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia, and the United Nations.  Taiwan, Macau, and Hong Kong use traditional Chinese characters.   The differences between the two have nothing to do with how words are pronounced or what they mean, only the way they are written.


Simplified Chinese is easier to write because the characters require fewer strokes. It was developed in the 1950s as a way to promote literacy in the People's Republic of China, and the reform reduced the number of strokes needed to write a character by an average of one-half.  Traditional characters are more complicated and take longer to write; some characters require as many as thirty-three different strokes.  To give you an idea of the difference between the two, below are the simplified and traditional characters for "Hua" (China).



So, which form do you need? Whenever you begin a translations project, make sure you specify where the translation will be used.  If you are launching in China and Hong Kong, you will need two versions:


  • Mainland China: simplified Chinese text
  • Hong Kong: traditional Chinese text

1 Comment(s):
Amanda Parker said...
I've always wondered about the difference until now. Thanks!
February 20, 2009 06:08:42
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