Simplified Chinese and/or Traditional Chinese?

Many of you may wonder what are the differences between Simplified Chinese (SC) and Traditional Chinese (TC) and how to determine which variant should be chosen as your target language. Now let’s introduce the two one by one.

Same Root

Same Root: both SC and TC originate from traditional Chinese, a more complex written form of Chinese characters.

Why and How Simplified Chinese adopted?

Chinese characters, Shanghai

Then in China (Mainland), SC was applied as the written form of Mandarin (putonghua/普通话). This was to enable more people to learn and master Chinese characters. It worked pretty well. A large population was able to read, write, and learn knowledge and skills in the long run just during a relatively short period. So Simplified Chinese is almost the most popular variant with the largest audience pool. Even in Singapore, when they decided to adopt Chinese as one of their official languages, SC was selected.

Traditional Chinese Differences between HK and TW

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At the same time, Hong Kong and Taiwan inherit the traditional Chinese written form. But the language style and description change dynamically with time. Though they use the same written form, some specific terminologies are different. If you want a localization of your content to Taiwan or Hong Kong style, it would be a detailed job and native linguists who pay special attention to these differences are a must. Yes, not all local natives are sensitive to these differences. And lots of HK natives speak Cantonese, a dialect that shares a different way to traditional Chinese.

Is a Geographical Target a Must for TC?

That’s why a specific localization of Hong Kong style of Taiwan style is not considered necessary unless the target audiences are point-to-point or geographically defined. A neutral solution, i.e. general Traditional Chinese, has become popular. It adopts traditional Chinese written form, enabling all TC readers could read it comfortably while not picky with specific wording/terminologies as a clear understanding is not a problem at all.

Possible the Most Efficient one

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To sum up, English to Simplified Chinese translation and English to general Traditional Chinese translation are attractive business solutions. And English to Traditional Chinese (HK or TW) translation is a geographical choice per needs.