If you want to spread your business in China, you have to understand that you’ll have to first translate all your content to Chinese. English is not very widely spoken in China and you may be surprised to know that less than 0.75% of people in China have English as their second language.
This makes even more imperative to translate your website in Chinese; however, the job is quite difficult and you’ll have to look for an indeed professional and expert translation firm. It’s because Chinese is a difficult language. So, what are the difficulties?
Several Distinct Dialects.
Although there are seven distinct Chinese dialects recognized by most linguists, there are numerous local variations that may pose challenges for less experienced translators. Moreover these dialects are pretty dissimilar to each other and need specialized knowledge so as to achieve an extremely accurate and reliable translation. Not all translators are able to translate to all dialects; actually most focus their efforts on only two to three of the seven dialects.
Chinese used as a standard language is supposed to be a variant of Mandarin and is the dialect used most commonly in mainland China, closely followed by Cantonese and its dialects.
Though there are only two main written forms of Chinese that are commonly used, the many dialects usually influence choices and meanings of words and should be taken into account during the translation work.
Usage of Characters and Not Letters.
Since the written form of Chinese is very old, it uses characters called hanzi instead of letters or alphabets. Each of these characters indicates a word or concept and usually serves several purposes, thereby making correct translation dependent on connotation and context along with the written character’s literal meaning.
Plus, there are a couple of writing systems commonly used in China. The traditional system is as old as the time of the Han Dynasty i.e. around two millennia, whereas the Simplified Chinese system came into existence in 1954 so as to open up increased opportunities for literacy to the public. Correct translations depend on deep knowledge of both the connotation of the word choices and context of the document present in the material that is to be translated.
Radically Different Sentence Structure in Chinese.
In English language, the tense of the verb shows the time of the incidence described. But with Chinese, this becomes different as contextual material and adverbs do this job. Because of this, it’s quite challenging to translate documents from English to Chinese forming correct sentences.
The translation sector in China is largely immature and people use CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) tools. Several companies hire university students at low rates and that results in miscommunication due to bad translation.
To ascertain the most correct translations of essential documents, it’s important to get the services of experienced, professional translators with strong knowledge of Chinese language. Especially, translation firms are more likely to appoint translators, specialized in the different types of dialects and writing systems of the Chinese language and can thereby give you more accurate and trustworthy results.