Chinese, Cantonese & Mandarin Translation

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China is one of the world’s oldest civilisations dating back over 3,000 years. In modern times and since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and the Reform and Opening Up policy of 1978 China has experienced phenomenal economic growth.

There are at least eight different linguistic groups in China, along with hundreds of dialects and variations. Mandarin is the most widely used version of Chinese, with nearly 1 billion speakers, while there are around 55 million Cantonese speakers in China alone. Cantonese is the main language in many parts of Southern China including Hong Kong and Macao, and of most Chinatowns across the world. However, the number of Cantonese speakers continues to decline due to the Chinese government efforts to make Mandarin the only national language.

Interesting Facts

  • 1 in 5 of the world’s population speaks a form of Chinese – it’s the most spoken language in the world.
  • There are up to 106,230 Chinese characters that can be defined, however, by understanding 2,500 characters you can read 98% of everyday written language.
  • Chinese characters represent words or phrases rather than sounds.
  • Chinese text was traditionally written in vertical columns which were read from top to bottom. In modern times, this has changed, and left-to-right horizontal Chinese has become more popular.
  • There are many English words and phrases that originated from China including, Brainwashing, Ketchup, Tycoon, Typhoon, No can do, Long time no see and many more.

Export opportunities

China presents businesses with a variety of opportunities. If you’re considering exporting to China, your first priority should be to register your Intellectual Property, including your trade names or trademarks, as China has a “first to file” system. What’s more, if you’re looking to export consumable goods, you’ll need to conduct ongoing market research as the Guobiao (GB) Standards (food safety regulations) are continually being revised.

Within China, there is currently a strong and growing market for food and drink products, cleantech, renewable energy, aviation, bioscience and medicine, which is needed to help address China’s rapidly ageing population.


Punctuality is vital as being late is a serious offence in Chinese business culture. It’s also important to ensure you’re fully prepared. You should have handouts and any information available for each individual attending the meeting.

Negotiations and the entire decision-making process is more elongated than in western societies. You should expect to engage in small talk and spend time building strong relationships to building trust. Regular visits or having someone on the ground in a senior position is a must as the Chinese prefer to do business with trusted friends. As such, expanding your business to China requires a long-term strategy.

Business tip: Do not bring presents! The official policy in Chinese business etiquette forbids gifts. The gesture is considered bribery, which is illegal.

It’s also recommended that you learn some simple Chinese greetings to establish a friendly connection.

Here are some basic phrases you should familiarise yourself with:

English Transliteration Chinese, Cantonese & Mandarin Translation
English Transliteration Chinese, Cantonese & Mandarin Translation
English Transliteration Chinese, Cantonese & Mandarin Translation
English Transliteration Chinese, Cantonese & Mandarin Translation
English Transliteration Chinese, Cantonese & Mandarin Translation
English Transliteration Chinese, Cantonese & Mandarin Translation
Hello / Hello (formal) Nǐ hǎo / Nín hǎo 你好 / 您好
How are you? Nǐ hǎo ma 你好吗?
Nice to meet you. Wǒ hěn gāoxìng rènshí nǐ. 我很高兴认识你。
Please Qǐng
Thank you Xièxiè 谢谢
Goodbye Zài jiàn 再见

Our Clients

We have worked extensively in the technology & engineering sector in Chinese, most specifically on websites and technical white papers for our client Zettlex. They are a position sensor manufacturer for extreme environments. We have also worked with another leading engineering company in Cambridgeshire translating into Chinese.

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Call us on +44 (0)1480 411514 or email

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