Is your business looking for Chinese translation services? The potential benefits are tremendous:
- Mandarin Chinese has approximately 955 million native speakers, making it the most commonly spoken language in the world.
- China is the world’s fastest-growing consumer market, and the second-largest importer of goods.
- And China’s One Belt One Road initiative is set to reshape global trade.
Chinese translation can also help you reach communities of Chinese speakers closer to home.
But while the potential benefits are real, the potential pitfalls are, too. To avoid mishaps, read our beginner’s guide to Chinese translation services for businesses.
What language do they speak in China, anyway?
If you answered “Mandarin,” then you only get partial credit. Mandarin (often called Standard Chinese or Putonghua), is an official language in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. But it’s not the only language people speak in China. Far from it. According to Ethnologue, there are 299 living languages spoken in China today. Around 70% of the Chinese population speaks Mandarin, although the government would like to increase that to 80% by 2020.
The bottom line? It’s important to know your audience. Depending on the content you’re translating, the medium you’re using, and the audience you’re trying to reach, Mandarin may be sufficient. But in some areas, like Hong Kong, it’s important to show respect for local languages like Cantonese, too.
And referring to standard Chinese as “Mandarin” is, in itself, a bit of an oversimplification. “Mandarin” also refers to a group of dialects used across northern and southwestern China. When spoken, these dialects are not all mutually intelligible. Read more