Chinese Variants

One very common problem involving Chinese translation is choice of Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese or both. The answer is both if your budget can afford, or Simplified Chinese if you can only afford one.

Why the Simplified Chinese is preferred? Please see the study Chinese Character Usage in New York City done by Mathew Kane, which was published on ATA Chronicle Nov/Dec 2012 Issue.

Mathew Kane used DataFerrett tool to determine the total population for Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese people and found surprising result: at present three quarters of Chinese speakers prefer simplified characters with quick change of Chinese populations. Based on Mathew Kane’s research and recommendation, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City switched Traditional Chinese to Simplified Chinese in its subway notice.

We give the specific geographic distributions for Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese, both of which refer to written Chinese, not oral Chinese that is divided into Mandarin and Cantonese.

 Location Mainland China Taiwan Hong Kong Macaw
Written Simplified Traditional Traditional Traditional
Speaking Mandarin Mandarin Cantonese Cantonese

Although some provinces in Southern China, like Guangdong and Hainan speak Cantonese, they read and write Simplified Chinese that is only official language in Mainland.

There are some variations between Taiwan Traditional Chinese and Hong Kong Traditional Chinese in some words, particular proper names. For example P&G is called 宝洁 (simplified Chinese )in Mainland, 寶潔(Traditional Chinese of Mainland’s 宝洁) in Hong Kong, and 寶僑 that is totally different from that in Hong Kong. However, for general purpose, the difference may be neglected because most Chinese speakers can red both.