Chinese Dialects Dissected

If you have ever looked into learning Chinese you may have noticed that it is usually split between Mandarin and Cantonese. Despite a common belief, Mandarin and Cantonese are not their own independent languages. They are actually dialects of Chinese, though it is still important to be aware of how different they are. We try to make sure that our translation agency in London knows these unique difference between dialects. It is easy to get confused when trying to translate something designated as simply “Chinese,” so an attention to dialects is an important facet to be knowledgeable in.

London Translation Agency - Chinese Perplexed

Translation: Focus on the Details

While Mandarin and Cantonese share a general grammar structure, the actual words used in the language vary. For example, if you wanted to say faster in Cantonese you would say “kuai dian.” While if you were speaking Mandarin you would say “fam di,” which is obviously leagues from its Cantonese counterpart. You don’t want to hire on just any London translations services that are unfamiliar with this slight, but clear differences between dialects. Simple confusions with the languages could easily end up with a seriously confusing translation coming through. We understand how important all of these small variations can be when translating in any language, so our translation agency in London knows to focus on the details.

One of the most interesting things about Cantonese is how small the speaking population is in China. Cantonese is the dialect that most of mainland China speaks. It is also one of the four official languages of Singapore. Mandarin itself is made up of a number of smaller dialects that are spread all over Asia. They are all covered under the umbrella of Mandarin, making it the language dialect with the most speakers worldwide. While Cantonese is a dialect spoken basically only in Hong Kong, our translation agency in London tries to remain educated in both dialects regardless of speaking population.

The difference between Cantonese and Mandarin is all spoken. When written down there is absolutely no difference between the two of them. For instance if you asked our translation agency in London to translate a paper written in Cantonese to Mandarin, there wouldn’t actually be anything to do. I think my favorite example of how to explain this is the paper on a train example. If two men are sitting next to each other on the train, one who speaks Mandarin, and one who speaks Cantonese, then they couldn’t really speak to each other without issue. However, if one of them is reading Chinese paper and and other wants to borrow it, they could both read the paper without issue. If you can get what you need translated written down on paper, then you would not even need any London translation services.

While our London translation services are certainly not expensive, having a pen and paper could save you a lot of hassle. Since the written word is identical, you hypothetically could translate from Cantonese to Mandarin in a round about way by having the speakers write it down. Of course, this doesn’t work very well if you’re on a phone. If you have no way to figure out the translation yourself, then ring up the experts at our translation agency in London to give you a hand.