Why is Mandarin Chinese difficult to translate?
Mandarin Chinese does not use the Roman alphabet. Instead, characters are used to represent one or several words. Chinese translators must be able to recognise and accurately translate these. The total number of Chinese characters is in the tens of thousands. Although most native speakers do not know by memory every single character, university educated Chinese speakers are familiar with three to four thousand.
Chinese is a tonal language, meaning that a word’s meaning can change depending on the tone adopted. There are four tones in Mandarin Chinese and they can be difficult to master. For translating and interpreting services for Mandarin Chinese, a native speaker is essential.
Differences to other languages and Mandarin Chinese translation
Chinese belongs to the Sino-Tibetan language family. It therefore has some similarities with other languages in the group. Mandarin Chinese is also similar to Korean and Japanese. If you are an English speaker, however, you will notice greater differences between Mandarin and your mother tongue. You may have noticed the amusing results of literal Mandarin Chinese to English translations. These are a testament to the fact that an experienced, bilingual translator is necessary when it comes to Mandarin to English translations or transcriptions.
Many are fascinated by Chinese culture. One of the four ancient civilisations, Chinese history is rich and profound. Whether it’s participating in Chinese New Year, exploring the country’s geography or sampling its varied cuisine, China offers something for all travellers.
Why is Mandarin Chinese the most widely spoken language?
China (where Mandarin Chinese is the main language) has the largest population in the world. For this same reason, many people choose to study Mandarin Chinese, understanding it allows them to communicate with a significant portion of the world population. In 2004, there were 30 million people learning Chinese. Now, the number has risen to 100 million.
China’s international importance
China is an emerging superpower, rivalling the United States for the strongest economy in the world. The country has enjoyed rapid and sustained economic growth. Originally used by companies looking to benefit from low production costs, China now has a large middle class. In order to tap into the highly attractive market, a good command of Mandarin as well as a knowledge of Chinese culture is a must. This is another reason why employers increasingly demand proficiency in the language.
Many are fascinated by Chinese culture. One of the four ancient civilisations, Chinese history is rich and profound. Whether its participating in Chinese New Year, exploring the country’s geography or sampling its varied cuisine, China offer something for all travellers.