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FAQ Languages and Varieties

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SIMPLIFIED AND TRADITIONAL CHINESE?

Simplified Chinese was created in Mainland China in order to make the written language easier for newer generations to read and understand. The characters are written with fewer strokes and fewer characters are needed to get a particular meaning across. Simplified Chinese is now widely used in Mainland China and many Chinese-speaking communities around the world. However, Traditional Chinese is widely used in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

We suggest that you consider who your target audience is when deciding whether to go with Simplified or Traditional Chinese translation.

If your translation is meant for all Chinese speakers, we suggest that you translate into both Simplified and Traditional Chinese. If this is not the case, please follow the below formulas:

Where is your target audience in/from?

1. Mainland China
– Spoken dialect: Mandarin
– Written format: Simplified Chinese

2. Taiwan
– Spoken dialect: Mandarin
– Written format: Traditional Chinese

3. Hong Kong
– Spoken dialect: Cantonese
– Written format: Traditional Chinese

If you are not sure what written format you need, just mention where your target audience is in/from and the LingoStar staff will be happy to suggest the right solution. In case you only indicate that you need Simplified Chinese, we know automatically that this is for the audience in/from Mainland China. If you advise us that you want Cantonese dialect, we automatically assume that your target audience is in/from Hong Kong and translate to Traditional Chinese.

However, it is not sufficient to know that your translation has to be translated into Traditional Chinese because it is not clear whether your target audience is in/from Taiwan or Hong Kong who use two different spoken dialects. This same situation will occur if you tell us that you need translation to Mandarin. It may mean your target audience is in/from Mainland China or Taiwan who use two different written formats. That’s why stating your target audience is the best information you can provide us with in order for us to know for sure what language combination you need.

Still not clear? Feel free to contact LingoStar and we will be happy to assist you.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MANDARIN AND CANTONESE CHINESE?

Mandarin and Cantonese are two major spoken dialects of Chinese. Mandarin is commonly used in Mainland China and Taiwan, while Cantonese is commonly used in Hong Kong. Mandarin can be written in Simplified (Mainland China) or Traditional Chinese characters (Taiwan). Cantonese can be written in Traditional Chinese characters only.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT VARIETIES OF SPANISH?

Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and employs many different dialects. The Standard or International Spanish from Spain is most widely understood, however, South and Central American Spanish can differ greatly, particularly in style and vocabulary. Marketing material aimed at South or Central American audiences should be localized by country, as there can be huge differences between one to the other, for example, Mexican to Argentinean Spanish. Kindly advise who your target audience is and we will localize your translation by using translators who are native speakers of that particular variety.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT VARIETIES OF FRENCH?

French from France is considered the standard or international French and is most widely understood, however French from Canada or other regions in Europe, Africa and the world can vary greatly in style and vocabulary. Please advise if your target audience is based in Canada, France or another French-speaking country, and we will localize your translation by only using translators who are native speakers of that particular variety.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT VARIETIES OF PORTUGUESE?

Portuguese from Portugal is considered the standard and is most widely understood, however Portuguese in Brazil and other Portuguese-speaking countries can vary greatly in style and vocabulary. Please advise if your target audience is based in Portugal, Brazil, or another Portuguese-speaking country, and we will localize your translation by only using translators who are native speakers of that particular variety.

I NEED A TRANSLATION FROM/INTO A SPECIFIC DIALECT OF A FOREIGN LANGUAGE. CAN YOU PROVIDE THAT SERVICE?

Yes. We always make sure that your translation is tailored to its target audience, not just linguistically but also geographically and culturally. Please advise if you have a specific target audience and we will only use translators who are native speakers of that particular dialect.

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