Chinese Translations – How It Can Be Confusing If Not Correct

Conducting business on a global scale means that many organisations are faced with the challenges of presenting their marketing and informational messages in foreign languages. With the expansion on both the Indian and Asia-Pacific markets, with the population of both countries increasing rapidly, along with their living standards and disposable incomes. China in particular has become big business for international firms attempting to sell their goods and services, and as a result, the demand for Chinese translation services has increased.

It is essential that professional and experienced translators are utilised when your written and verbal material is being converted into Chinese. Being widely considered one of the most difficult languages to translate, there is significant risk in the process of Chinese translation, that the wording, pronunciation, context and/or meaning will be incorrect if not completed by an experienced translator. This can be very damaging to a businesses reputation which is considered very important in business in China. Chinese translation presents significant challenges to even native speakers of the language, with those charged with the responsibility of Chinese translation requiring extensive experience to ensure the accuracy of translation.

There are many challenges to overcome in the translation process. The intricacies and nuances of Asia-Pacific languages can easily result in misunderstandings and inaccuracies. One of the main challenges is the variation found within the language. Accepted by linguistics, there are currently seven different variations of the Chinese dialect, with many more localised variations that can cause difficulties in the process of translation. The varying dialects are considerably different from one another and without an experienced translator who understands the regional variations of the language, the message can easily become lost or changed. The most common form of this Asia-Pacific language is Mandarin, closely followed by Cantonese. There are two basic forms of written Chinese commonly in use today, with variations between the two affecting the selection of words and building of sentences. When written documents are being translated, it is essential that the person charged with this responsibility has a thorough understanding of the variations.

Furthermore, as this Asia-Pacific language is strewed in history, the ancient language utilises characters known as hanzi rather than conventional letters used in the English language. When converting documents, it is essential to understand that these characters may represent a word or concept, usually serving multiple purposes. This makes accurate Chinese translation more challenging as the correct meaning is dependent on the context and connotation, not just the literal interpretation.