Traditional vs. Simplified Chinese Translation: Which Do You Need for Your Industry?


There are over 1.31 billion Chinese speakers around the globe making up 16% of the world’s population. It’s important to know that Chinese is an umbrella language that encompasses around 200 varying dialects. Unlike English, which has one official writing system, Chinese branches into two categories: Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese.

Understanding where each is spoken and the differences between the two systems will allow you to make an informed decision about your translation needs. Whatever you decide, DTS Language Service, Inc., can support you in your global expansion. 

What to Use Where

Here is a quick guide to help you understand where you need Traditional Chinese translation vs. Simplified Chinese translation:

If your audience is located in…

You need…

Mainland China

Simplified Chinese

Hong Kong, Macao

Traditional Chinese


Traditional Chinese


Simplified Chinese


Simplified Chinese

The United States


Other Chinese Communities 

Traditional Chinese

It’s important to note that Traditional Chinese is one of the oldest written languages that exist. Chinese systems of writing date back nearly 5,000 years. Plus, Chinese is not just a practical language system, it’s an artform known as calligraphy. 

Retention of Meaning

Beyond considering the geographic location of the audience you want to reach — the second reason to use Traditional Chinese for your translation needs is that some of the meaning behind the characters gets lost when using Simplified Chinese. 

Here is an example: 

The word “love” in Traditional Chinese looks like this: 愛 

An important aspect of this character is the sub character — meaning “heart.” 

The Simplified Chinese character for “love” is — omitting the “heart” component entirely. 

In the traditional style, “love” is an 11 stroke word, compared to the 8 strokes required in the simplified version.

Because of this reduction, many Chinese speakers feel that when Simplified Chinese was introduced in the 1950’s, the meaning behind many words were lost. Furthermore, someone who can only read and understand the simplified way won’t be able to understand the traditional characters. Many worry that Traditional Chinese could become a “dead language.”

The reason Simplified Chinese was created was because literacy rates in China were stuck at around 20%. As the Chinese government became the People’s Republic of China, demand increased for an easier reading and writing system. What changed was the number of strokes required to write a word. 

Now that you have a slight understanding of Traditional Chinese vs. Simplified Chinese, let’s look at how partnering with DTS Language Service, Inc., for your Traditional Chinese translation projects can pave the way to building your global company.

Life Sciences & Medical

When translating medical device manuscripts, pharmaceutical documents, clinical trial questionnaires, or healthcare paperwork, translating from Traditional Chinese doesn’t have to add to the complexity of terms within the life science and medical fields. The right experts will be able to understand the nuances of your industry’s terminology and use the system of Traditional Chinese characters to create the results you’re after. 

DTS has a qualified team of specialists waiting to translate:

  • Patient Informed Consent Forms (ICFs) and Patient Information Leaflets (PILs)
  • Doctor guides
  • Drug inserts
  • Patient guides
  • Manuals & Instructions

You can also check out our other service offerings on our website.

Legal & Finance

Have you been struggling with Traditional Chinese legalese preventing the timely delivery of your court proceedings, sworn statements, trademark and patent registration, or financial reports? When working with DTS, your capacity to meet deadlines will be a non-issue. Our subject matter experts follow a unique workflow that gives them (and you) the power to complete legal translation and financial document translation projects quickly and accurately. 

We cover all the ways for you to reach your audience, including:

  • Pleadings
  • Briefs
  • Examinations under oath
  • NDAs
  • Datasheets
  • Financial reports

For a full list of our ability to translate your Traditional Chinese to English project, click here


China’s technological economy is the second biggest on the market to date. Following closely on the heels of the United States, China is poised for extraordinary economic growth in the coming years and China’s 5G network is almost on par with ours. In the near future, the ability for you to communicate around the world will almost certainly require translating your documents into Traditional Chinese. Don’t let a language barrier prevent you from taking the steps toward global expansion. 

When working with a language service provider, like the team at DTS, you will easily be able to stay ahead of the competition with fast and cost-effective language solutions. Our localization testing and software capacity will allow you to deliver your new product on time, everytime. 

This includes:

  • Brand Management
  • Multimedia Content
  • Product Launch Briefings
  • App Store & Google Play Materials
  • E-learning
  • And more 

If top consumer electronics companies trust DTS’ expert linguists to deliver high quality translations that have helped them enter and capture new markets, we believe you can too. 

What’s Your Need?

If you’re looking to reach an audience in Hong Kong, Macao, or Taiwan or you want to retain full meaning behind your words—you will need expert Traditional Chinese translation. 

Either way, 1.31 billion people speak Chinese around the world — meaning incorporating Chinese into your business structure has the potential to increase your market capacity by 16%. 

This seems like a no brainer. 

Traditional Chinese translation services provided by quality experts will globalize your company’s reach. When you’re ready to capitalize on the most spoken language in the world, we will be here to help. Contact us today.

10 Tips For Your Next Translation Project (Video)

10 Tips For Your Next Translation Project (Video)

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