Chinese is the name given to all thousands of languages spoken by over a billion people living in and around China, and if all those languages are considered one language, it is the most spoken language in the world. Chinese, which one in five people in the world speaks as their native language, is composed of different languages, each of which can be regarded as a completely separate language. The most widely spoken is Mandarin, which is used by approximately 850 million people. Wu dialect takes the second place, spoken by 90 million people in and around Shanghai. Because the migrating Chinese are generally from South, Cantonese is the most commonly used in immigrant communities.
Countries where Chinese is accepted as official language are: China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Singapore and Burma. Canada, USA and Malaysia can be counted as countries where Chinese is defined as a minority language. Since Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world, it has been accepted as one of the official languages of the United Nations.
Chinese script is a language-specific writing system, and has a history of over 3500 years. Logograms in Chinese do not line up together to create a word. There is a different logogram for each word in Chinese. Chinese has traditional and simplified characters commissioned by Mao. Before 1954, Chinese was written with logograms that evolved from traditional pictograms. The Cultural Revolution led by Mao made logograms easier and transformed into simplified characters. A well-educated Chinese reader knows about five to seven thousand characters. In order to read a newspaper, at least three thousand characters must be learned.
The first examples of Chinese script are the Oracle Bone Scripts from approximately 1600 BC, in the era of Shang Dynasty of China. Chinese logograms were later used in East and South Asia, Korea, Vietnam and Japan, other than China. In the 20th century, North Korea and Vietnam have completely stopped using Chinese characters. On the other hand, Chinese logograms are still partially used today in South Korea and Japan, although these countries have developed their own writing system.
Chinese script logograms are derived from a type of pictograph and they are not used for describing a sound, as in the alphabet. For this reason, it can be read in different languages with various sounds but the meaning remains the same. This has been a tool that makes communication easier, and explains how the Chinese could speak hundreds of different Chinese dialects throughout history. The Japanese and the Koreans, on the other hand, speak syntactically completely different languages than Chinese. But after learning basic grammar rules, they were able to read documents such as Chinese Buddhist manuscripts. From this aspect, the Chinese character is the keystone of cultural exchange in the Far East.
After 1956, Simplified Characters have started to be used in China. However, Traditional Characters are still used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao.
Mirora has collaborated with translation companies in People’s Republic of China for many years. Thus, Mirora offers high-quality, fast and reliable translation services in traditional and simplified Chinese from and to all languages worldwide with competitive prices, by our native translation teams.