Inc. 5000 logo Named to the 2023 Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies and ranked among the world’s top 100 language service providers by CSA Research

Read more →

Chinese Translation Services

One quarter of the global population speaks Chinese, and this includes 800 million active internet users—making the language increasingly relevant to any organization that communicates globally.

Whether you need to localize an integrated campaign for Chinese markets or translate corporate training videos for Chinese-speaking workers in the Americas, Eriksen can help. With expert Chinese-language translators, cutting-edge language technology, and tried-and-true quality assurance measures, we deliver the language you need to do business with the Chinese-speaking world.

Expert Chinese Translation

Chinese is an intricate and complex language. It is not gendered like Romance languages. There are no cases, and words do not have a plural form. Because English to Chinese translation (and vice versa) presents an array of challenges, it requires an expert translation team who can understand the context of the source material to accurately convey its meaning.

Eriksen has a large team of talented translators who are native Chinese speakers and subject matter experts in the topics they translate. They have the linguistic skills to craft text that sounds natural, as though it were written in the target language. Our linguists understand the nuance needed to craft precise, impactful Chinese language that conveys the intent of your messaging and the integrity of your brand.

Chinese Translation Services Offered

Eriksen offers a range of Chinese language services to help organizations seeking to do business with Chinese markets or support Chinese-speaking employees.

  • Chinese document translation
  • Chinese typesetting
  • Chinese website translation
  • Chinese e-learning localization
  • Chinese transcription
  • Chinese voiceover and subtitling
  • Chinese simultaneous and consecutive interpreting
  • Chinese live Zoom interpreting

The Written Chinese Language—Simplified vs. Traditional

One question we often hear is: “What’s the difference between Simplified and Traditional Chinese?” In order to plan an informed translation strategy, it’s important to understand the different forms of the language.

Written Chinese has two official writing systems: Traditional and Simplified. Traditional Chinese preserves the orthodox characters that have been used for thousands of years. In the 1950s the Chinese government attempted to address widespread illiteracy by making the language easier to learn. Many of the traditional characters were simplified, merged, and restructured to form the Simplified Chinese used today.

The Traditional characters are more complicated and ornate, while their Simplified counterparts have fewer strokes and less characters. Traditional and Simplified Chinese also have differences in vocabulary usage, word choice, punctuation, and character sequences.

Translating for International Audiences—Simplified vs. Traditional Chinese

Simplified Chinese is appropriate when translating for mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia, and international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank. Traditional Chinese is typically used in translations for Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, and long-established international immigrant communities.

Traditional Chinese has evolved over the years, and the forms used in Taiwan and Hong Kong have each developed unique terminology. Even though the forms are considered mutually intelligible, Taiwanese text will not read as naturally to people from Hong Kong, and vice versa. When translating specifically for Taiwan, it is best to select Traditional Chinese for Taiwan, while text for Hong Kong is ideally translated into Traditional Chinese for Hong Kong.

In the U.S., half of all Chinese immigrants live in either California (32%) or New York (19%). Both cities include communities established before the advent of Simplified Chinese, and many residents and local press still use Traditional characters. However, more recent influxes of immigrants have diversified Chinese populations across the continent. The best way to ensure that your message is understood by all U.S. Chinese speakers is to translate into both Traditional and Simplified Chinese.

The Spoken Language—Mandarin vs. Cantonese

The most commonly spoken Chinese dialects are Mandarin and Cantonese, which are both used around the world. Mandarin was named China’s official language in 1912, and Standard Mandarin remains the country’s lingua franca today. Mandarin is the only dialect that is common among Chinese throughout the world.

Cantonese originated in the Guangzhou region of southeast China and is still spoken in the area today. However, the language has spread far and wide, and is spoken by some of the world’s major immigrant communities, including those in New York and California. Language usage continues to shift, due to immigration trends and social and political factors. While the official languages of Hong Kong remain Cantonese and English, Mandarin usage is on the rise. When the British returned Hong Kong to China in 1997, only one quarter of the population spoke Mandarin. Today, that number has almost doubled.

Chinese Typesetting

It can sometimes be a challenge to make Chinese text fit naturally into a layout designed for English-language content. Simplified and Traditional Chinese can be written horizontally, left to right, like English. Traditional can also be written right to left. At times, both directions can be used within the same document.

In both Simplified and Traditional, text can flow vertically from top to bottom, though this is more common in Traditional text. Typically, the text flows from the top right of the page, though (less commonly) it can also flow from the top left.

When translating from English into Chinese, the translated text will typically take up less space, though the degree of text contraction may fluctuate significantly. Because Chinese characters are more complex than those in Latin alphabets, they require more space in between characters. This can result in vertical expansion if the space between the lines needs to increase to fit the characters.

Eriksen’s typesetting team has expertise in the Chinese language, so they can skillfully adjust type to fit a layout while adhering to language-specific conventions. Our typesetting experts set text in fonts that have all the required characters and follow the rules for correct punctuation. Ultimately, our Chinese-language translation and typesetting teams will make sure your final documents are clear, accurate, and visually appealing.

Cost of Chinese Translation Services

Language providers commonly price translation work on a per-word basis. Additional services such as typesetting, proofreading, and quality assurance review are priced by the hour. More complex multimedia projects such as web and e-learning localization, video, and audio work are quoted on a per-project basis.

There are additional factors that contribute to translation pricing, such as subject matter, volume, and turnaround. For example, a rush job can cost more, as can highly specialized or technical content. On the other hand, with less creative content, discounting may be applied through the use of translation memory.

Professional Chinese Translation Services

Eriksen has an extensive network of Chinese linguists experienced in translating for Chinese-speaking communities throughout the U.S. and around the world. By carefully selecting the right linguist for each client and content type, we deliver translations that are reliable, accurate, and on-brand.

Please get in touch to discuss your Chinese translation needs with a member of our client services team. Or visit our request-a-quote page, and we will provide you with a free estimate.

Without fail, Eriksen has come through for us for the last 16 years. They come through—on-time, on budget and flawlessly.

Peter Byrnes, Lugh Studio

featured work

Exploring Land and Sea in Spanish and Chinese
California Academy of Sciences
Localizing Interactive Sexual Harassment Prevention Training
New York City Commission on Human Rights
Get In Touch