Chinese translation services – Simplified (Mandarin) & Traditional (Cantonese)

Simplified (Mandarin) Chinese for PRC & Singapore

Traditional (Cantonese) Chinese for elsewhere

We are respected Chinese to English and English-Chinese translation providers to leading UK business and industry. Whether Simplified or Traditional, our Chinese translation services and expert Chinese typesetting assists dozens of UK exporters across sectors including technical/engineering, logistics, insurance, legal, food & beverage, and financial.

We also offer professional mother-tongue Chinese interpreting services for meetings and training and a full range of multimedia services. These include Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese voiceover or subtitling, and Mandarin or Cantonese transcription.

Chinese translation services – Simplified and Traditional

Written Chinese has two forms; which you need depends on where it’s for.

Traditional Chinese surprisingly isn’t (officially) used in China! The written form used in the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”) has since the 1950s been Simplified Chinese – see below.

Chinese communities unaffected directly by the Revolution – including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau – still however use Traditional Chinese, (often referred to as Mandarin) and Traditional Chinese is also the written language for many wider diaspora. We also handle extensive Traditional Chinese translation for the public sector to support these communities.

The official written form in the PRC, as well as in Singapore and much of Malaysia, is Simplified Chinese. If you’re exporting to China, you need Simplified Chinese, aka Mandarin, translation.

The (main) difference between Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese is the character set; as the name suggests, Simplified Chinese uses simpler (and fewer) than does Traditional Chinese. The two are NOT interchangeable – so if you’re not sure which you need, we’re happy to help!

Our FAQ and Really Helpful Friendly Guide to Language Translation offer advice on sourcing translators and getting better translation.

Chinese interpreting (Cantonese and Mandarin interpreting, and more)

We provide Cantonese and Mandarin interpreting services for liaison, conference, court and medical interpreting UK-wide and beyond. However, Cantonese and Mandarin are not the only languages Chinese interpreting may require. Others include Wu, Min, Yue and several more, including the “official” PRC spoken form of Mandarin called Putonghua. We offer Chinese interpreting in several of these main languages. For more information, just call our friendly helpful team on Freefone 0800 783 4678 or e-mail our interpreter team.

Chinese typesetting services

Our expert Chinese typesetting services are available in Quark, InDesign, Illustrator and more and of course include full proofreading by our mother-tongue linguists. In addition to the (critical!) correct choice of font (simplified Chinese or traditional Chinese), Chinese typesetting has several small but significant wrinkles which really do affect credibility of the product.

As well as strict presentation rules, other factors to consider include the correct handling of Western text such as tradenames. It’s worth noting that in most Chinese typesetting fonts, Western characters are rather spindly and unattractive, so professional Chinese typesetting will often use compound fonts which combine the presentation features of the Chinese face and a Western font such as Helvetica. However, doing so can prevent the live typeset document from working correctly on other systems.

Unfortunately, opening and re-saving Chinese typesetting on incompatible systems will frequently break it, making the document unusable. We’d always recommend we finalise for you, delivering as press-ready PDF.

Chinese transcription services

Popular for research and conferences, Chinese transcription can be mono- or bilingual (with a Chinese to English translation). Spoken Chinese is mainly Mandarin or Cantonese, although a number of other dialects exist which can considerably complicate Chinese transcription! For legal use we also offer certified Chinese transcription – there’s more on our Transcription page.

Chinese voiceover & Chinese subtitling

There’s more info – including a downloadable guide on getting the best Chinese voiceover – on our voiceovers page. Remember that unusually among language voiceover providers, we’re primarily a translation company. That’s important because it means that unlike many commercial voiceover studios, our Chinese voiceover scripts are mother-tongue professionally translated and 100% reviewed. Our Chinese subtitling is also popular.

TIP: watch script length – checking translated voiceover script length for “fit” is generally by wordcount. However, the glyph “alphabet” means Chinese doesn’t work like that! While the translation msy look far shorter than the English source, it can take much longer to read, making experienced Chinese voiceover translation really important if your product isn’t to sound like Minnie Mouse!

To learn more, just tell us what you need and we’ll get straight back to you. Or call our helpful team on UK Freefone 0800 783 4678 (Intnl 0044 1772 558858)

Chinese translation & Chinese typesetting


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