More than 1.4 billion people speak Chinese as a first language, making it the most widely used language in the world. Unexpectedly, it is also regarded as one of the hardest languages for beginners. There are various causes, including that Mandarin only has 80,000 characters, and its tonal characteristic makes Chinese translations particularly difficult.
China is widely renowned for its vast territory and rich history. Its language is the oldest and most widely used on the planet. It makes sense that the Chinese language is growing in popularity and is currently assuming a more significant role.
However, there are challenges in translating ideas from Chinese to English and vice versa. Chinglish results from the Chinese way of thinking interfering with an accurate translation into English.
Undoubtedly, differences between these two languages and thinking styles are important in translating the mother tongue’s meaning. Add subject-verb agreement, cultural awareness, and the wealth of idioms to those grammatical conventions.
Challenges within Chinese Translation:
The difficulties translators may encounter when working on Chinese translations are listed below.
- Understand how to use characters:
The writing system used by the Chinese language, known as the ideograph characters, is one of the most crucial concepts to grasp. Each character symbolizes an idea and has multiple meanings. Additionally, technical writing and literature use 6,000 characters, with 3,000 being the most common.
Depending on what is being represented, symbols in Chinese translation or Chinese writing can be written right to the left, left to right, or up and down? In addition, translating Chinese into a language with a linear writing system might be challenging. To accurately translate the characters and the context’s meaning, the translator for your project should be a native speaker.
- Be aware that there are multiple dialects of the language:
Despite being one of the four major languages in China, Mandarin is only one of them, along with Wu, Yue (Cantonese), and Min. One word in Mandarin can have four meanings and tones depending on its pronunciation. Ma, for instance, can mean “mother,” “rough,” “horse,” or “scold.”
As a result, to choose terms correctly, translators need to have a thorough comprehension of all Chinese dialects.
- Having an understanding of sentence structure:
Chinese has two different sentence types: simple sentences and complex sentences. Although the English sentence structure and the basic sentence both have a subject, predicate, and object, there are some unique distinctions between the two structures.
The predicate is always a verb in English, but it’s not necessarily the case here. Additionally, a complicated Chinese sentence is made up of numerous short sentences. Therefore, translators need to have a thorough comprehension of Chinese phrase structures to convey the meaning accurately.
- Master the complex grammar system:
It is stated that the main reason why translations are so difficult is because of the variations in the grammar systems of Chinese translation and other languages. Chinese words do not have singular or plural versions, and the sentences are topic-focused, beginning with the statement of the sentence’s subject.
Additionally, it is important to understand the meanings of words by considering the context in which they are employed because verb tenses are irrelevant.
The best way to ensure your translation is correct. It conveys the cultural aspects of the language, given all the difficulties associated with Chinese translations, is to select a Language Services Partner who specializes in Chinese.
- Utilize idioms:
Chinese uses many idioms since the language is typically ingrained with tradition and culture. Idiomatic expressions in Chinese, or “chengyu,” are made up of four characters. The Chengyu mostly derives from ancient literature, in which narratives or historical details are explained in straightforward and effective methods.
As a result, since more than 5,000 official chengyu are ingrained in the language, translators must understand and convey the cultural background of the idioms.
How to choose your professional Chinese translator:
The professional translation and localization firm LST focus on Chinese translation services. Multinational corporations with activities across several countries make up our clients. We are willing to go above and above for Chinese translation services to provide the best results for our clients.
Legal Service Translation has provided professional language services to hundreds of B2-B clients worldwide, and it boasts an 80 percent customer retention rate. We have a team of professionals of seasoned and native Chinese translators with an in-depth understanding of Chinese culture and customs to provide you with accurate and high-quality Chinese translations.