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Cantonese translation

By Hilary Picken | February 28, 2019 | Languages

Cantonese translation

All of our Cantonese translators are specialists in their chosen field. They all have a minimum of five years’ experience and hold a Diploma, BA or MA in translation.

This ensures that whether you need a translation of medical notes, legal documents, manufacturers’ specifications, or any other high-priority, high-importance document, we will capture both technical jargon and nuance accurately so you can be confident that your meaning is accurately conveyed.


Things to consider in Cantonese translation

Like other forms of Chinese, Cantonese is almost invariably written in ideograms: small and stylised pictures which denote a particular word or concept. There are two basic groups of these ideograms, traditional and simplified, which are used by the languages grouped together as “Chinese”.

Cantonese is the primary dialect in much of Guangdong province in southern China and, in particular, in Hong Kong. It is the dialect most likely to be encountered outside China itself, thanks to Hong Kong’s historic role as a trading gateway. It is also the dialect of Chinese used in Macau.

In Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, traditional ideograms are still used, while elsewhere in China, simplified ideograms are favoured. The set you wish to be translated into will depend on what demographic or demographics you intend to read your text.

Because of the nature of ideograms, a translation from English to Chinese will usually result in around 30% more text. This should be taken into account when laying out your brochure or website. Similarly, Chinese documents translated into English will be significantly shorter in terms of numbers of characters or words, though not necessarily the amount of space used.

One of the things that keeps Cantonese alive is its lively and evolving use of colloquial slang. A native translator is required to ensure that this challenge is correctly navigated.

Interesting facts about the Cantonese language

  1. Cantonese may also be referred to as Guangdong language, Guangfu, and Metropolitan Cantonese.
  2. Cantonese popular music, commonly known as ‘Cantopop’ is so popular throughout Chinese-speaking Asia that Mandarin pop singers are encouraged to learn the dialect to performance standard in order to increase sales.