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Do You Have To Know Chinese In The China Market?

By Author: Shreya Gupta
Total Articles: 83

When you travel to a new country, sometimes you have enough time and guidance to get well-versed in its language and sometimes you don’t. Often, people make do with symbolic equivalents or interpretation guides to help them through. It’s after all, just about a vacation that you can float by.

But travelling to a new market, like China, is not a vacation. At least not at the initial stages. What you need is a good Chinese translation service. If you are introducing your product to a new, yet a humongous market like China, you cannot ignore the perils of non-translation. Your website or app would need to get draped in the fabric of this local culture, language and colloquial alignment. If you want your product and communication to work seamlessly, there is no need to learn Chinese from the scratch.

But that does not mean you don’t need to localise for the Chinese market.

You need a professional expert who knows this market and a bouquet of services that can take care of this challenge with a rich inventory of translation experts who are adept in both the languages – the source language of your country and the target language of the new market.

Save your brand from the dragon fire.
China, in particular, is a market where brands tiptoe with extra caution and care. Marketers are wary of wrong steps around polysemy i.e. words that have several meanings as well as synonymy i.e. different words that have similar meanings. Some major and world-ruling brands have often paid a huge price in terms of brand equity and resistance in this market because they jumped the same taglines, slogans, and instruction manuals that they had in source market, without ascertaining how they sounded in a Chinese context. The language here may have a different vocabulary and some words, seemingly harmless or impressive, can sound completely different and risky in a Chinese translation.
Hence, brands and communication experts tend to walk on eggshells to avert semantic dangers of antonymy, hyponymy or hypernymy as well.

Local language gets higher eyeballs
That’s not the only reason to take help from a professional language service provider. Worldwide, a huge number of consumers have shown in various studies that they prefer to buy products whose information is available in their own local language. The likelihood of consumers leaning to purchase a product online that has information in their own language increases by several notches.

Which one to choose: Mandarin or Cantonese
About 850 million people in China speak Mandarin Chinese as compared to about 85 million Cantonese Chinese. However, the hinterlands of China are still dominated by Cantonese. When it comes to places like Hong Kong, you can still see the domination of Cantonese. You must choose the type of Chinese language to be used based on the target audience and the potential reach.

Hence, draping a website or other vital product information in the local language, under the expert eye and keyboard of a locally-savvy translator is crucial for a smart marketer. China is bursting with new opportunities but one small step in the wrong lane can cost a lot. So, make sure you pick someone who can translate English to Chinese, knows the market and who has the services, resources, talent and the vision to navigate the peculiarities of language in such markets.

There is no way you want the dragon to breathe fire because of translation gaps.

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