How do you say strong in Mandarin

Finally explained: Chinese abbreviations vs. traditional characters and Mandarin vs. Cantonese

Customers often ask me: which Chinese for my translation - Mandarin or Cantonese? And what about the long characters and the short characters?

Spoken language

Mandarin and Cantonese refer to the languages ​​spoken, which in turn are made up of a variety of dialects. This is how they are common:

  • Mandarin is Standard or Standard Chinese, and is the official language of the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, and Singapore. 845 million people speak Mandarin as their first language - making it the language with the most native speakers in the world.
  • Cantonese is a Chinese dialect. In China it is spoken in large parts of the Guangdong Province ("Canton", hence Cantonese). Cantonese is also spoken in the two special administrative areas of Hong Kong and Macau.

The dialects are very different. The people from the north (e.g. from Beijing) cannot communicate with those from Guangzhou. This is where the Chinese script comes into play.

Written language

There are two Chinese scripts. Abbreviation (“Chinese simplified”) are the simplified version of the traditionalTraditional characters ("Chinese traditional"). They were introduced after the founding of the People's Republic of China as part of a script reform.

  • Both Abbreviation characters are standardized and the number of strokes is reduced. This font is in use in the People's Republic of China and Singapore.
  • Traditional characters continue to apply in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, where the reform has not been implemented.

The written language is considered to be a unifying element, since many readers can read both the short and long characters without much effort. For a translation that is perfectly tailored to the target group, you should of course always choose the right variant.

Here is a summary again:




Traditional characters


Traditional characters

People's Republic of China

(most of China, Beijing, Shanghai ...)

TaiwanPeople's Republic of China

(Guangdong Province)

Hong Kong, Macau

At Diction we of course offer every variant and combination. Still unsure? I like to help!

Xuesong Wu