The Difference Between Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese

Mandarin is spoken by over one billion people throughout Asia, including China, Singapore and Taiwan. Mandarin has become an imperative language in business gradually replacing English on account of China’s growing economy. However, most people might ask what the difference between Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese is and why Chinese people use different written text in different countries. In translation, oftentimes our clients are confused by Mandarin and Cantonese and where Chinese people speak them. We hope this article will work out your questions and clear up some of the complexities of one of the most difficult and oldest languages in the world.

Mandarin and Cantonese are spoken languages.

Maybe the most confusing of aspect is why we never see the words in either Mandarin or Cantonese, because they are two spoken dialects of Chinese language. Their difference is dependent on the region they are spoken in, not on their written characters. Mandarin is widely used in Mainland China, Taiwan and Singapore as an official language whereas Cantonese is specifically targeted in China’s Guangdong Province and in Hong Kong.

Simplified and Traditional Chinese are written languages.

Written Chinese has been used for several thousand years and was standardized during Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 BC). Until today, although there are many varieties of spoken Chinese dialects, but there are only two primary written systems: Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese.

Simplified Chinese

The proposal for simplified characters started as early as 1906. The purpose of simplified Chinese not only made the characters faster to write and easier to memorize, but also boosted literacy rate. After Chinese Civil War ended in 1949, the government of China and Singapore started officially adopting the simplified text. Nowadays, the written text is widely used in Mainland China and Singapore. In 2012, the latest revised list had 8,300 simplified characters.

Traditional Chinese

On the other hand, Traditional Chinese is a traditional version that has been written by Chinese people for over five thousand years. The written text is used in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. There are more than 80,000 Chinese characters, but only 8,000 are in regular use. Some Simplified Chinese users bring up Traditional Chinese as an old way of writing Chinese characters, but some supporters say that it is the standard way of learning proper Chinese characters. There is still an ongoing debate between the users and supporters of these two Chinese writing systems.

Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese: Which should you choose?

As we mentioned, which written text you should use usually depends on region. The rule is pretty simple. If you are targeting people in Mainland China, then use Simplified Chinese. If you are targeting Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan, then use Traditional Chinese.

Here at LingoStar, we have been providing professional language services for almost ten years. We only hire qualified translators in different fields of specification. They are not only proficient in different languages, but also concentrate on different cultures and specific dialects. They provide their expertise and education in their native languages to satisfy your multilingual needs. If you would like us to assist with any questions, do not hesitate to ask for a free quote today! It is our pleasure to provide high quality language services to our clients.