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English to Chinese and Chinese to English document translations of the highest quality — meeting your needs with our services. We guarantee:

  • Translators who are native speakers of the target language, whether it is English or Chinese
  • ISO 9001 and ISO 17001 quality standard compliance
  • Localization expertise in your line of work (medicine, engineering, etc.)

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See below, what kind of changes to the text might be expected for translations from English to Chinese or vice versa.

Translation differences

Translation from English to Chinese or vice versa entails certain changes in the resulting text. These changes are caused by the inherent differences between the languages. The following things in your order might be affected:

  • The layout of the resulting text
  • Time it takes to translate
  • Translation complexity

Among other factors, these parameters can influence the final price as well. The layout factor is especially important to those, who are interested in our DTP (Desktop Publishing) services.

Translating a document between English and Chinese — what to expect
Parameter To English To Chinese Difference
Writing systemLatin (English alphabet)Chinese character (Hanzi logograms)Different writing systems: drastic difference
Text directionleft-to-rightleft-to-right or top-to-bottom-to-leftDifferent
Characters per word (average)62Significant
Text length (characters)355% longer78% shorterSignificant
Overall differenceDrastic

Text length and document layout

The main factors influencing the length and layout of the translated document are:

  • Writing system of the target language
  • Writing direction
  • Word length
  • Relative lengths of the texts

Writing system

English uses Latin alphabet, whereas Chinese employs Chinese character logograms. It may make the translated text shorter or longer than the original, and makes selecting the correct font for the target language essential. Given the same font size, Latin symbols are generally 67% smaller than the Chinese character ones.

Writing direction

English is read left-to-right, but Chinese — left-to-right or top-to-bottom-to-left. It means that, in the translated document, the order of the text and visual elements should be reversed. This is crucial for technical documents and visual instructions, and demands additional work from the DTP specialists.

Word length

Words in English are, on average, 6 characters long, and Chinese words are 2 characters long. This might result in lines of text not being distributed similarly between the source and the target text.

Text length

On average, documents translated to English are 355% longer than source texts in Chinese. On the other hand, Chinese texts are 78% shorter than their English counterparts. It means that some formatting differences are to be expected in the translated texts. Please note, that the actual visual length is also influenced by the font used.

Word order

Depending on your needs, the word order might be rather important for the translation. Things like slogans and brand names may convey an entirely different meaning, if their word order is changed.

Both English and Chinese have the same standard sequence of words, meaning that no additional problems should be caused by it.

Dialects and varieties

English has 3 major varieties: US, UK, and Australian. It is essential for you to choose, which form or dialect to translate to. This is because each variety, from the point of view of the other types, can feel unnatural, misleading, or plainly inappropriate for the text.

If you are not sure, which form to choose for your document, the safe choice is the more widespread one, or the one understood by most speakers. For English, it is the US variety.

Translation complexity

Translation complexity is partially dependent on how closely the languages are related. The further apart the languages are, the more time and effort it takes to express an idea from one language in another one. As a consequence, it affects the price and time it takes to translate a document between English and Chinese.

The languages in question belong to different families — English is Indo-European, while Chinese is Sino-Tibetan. It means that a relatively more skilled translator is needed for the job, especially if technical documents, e.g. patents, are in question.

Succesful Cooperations

Computer Science & Tech

Computer-Assisted Translation of XML Files

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Marketing & Sale

Localization of POS Material in Indesign

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Technology

Software Localization for an Online-Shop

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Engineering

Translation and Desktop Publishing of Technical Drawings

See references