Localization Service Content

Representing over a quarter of the world’s population, Chinese speakers represent an exciting market opportunity. Chinese localization requires cultural and political sensitivity, knowledge of the differences and uses of the Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese writing forms, as well as a solid understanding of software engineering issues.

Who Speaks Chinese?

Chinese is spoken by over a quarter of the world’s population, and therefore offers a huge potential audience for the internet and other products.

Before discussing Chinese localization, you need to have an understanding of who actually speaks the language.

China itself has the largest Chinese speaking population, of 1.3 billion people. Taiwan, Republic of China follows with a population of 22.4 million, and Singapore, which has a population of 3.6 million. All the other Chinese speaking people scattered around the world are estimated to be about 100 million. Indonesia alone has a population of 212 million, and about 20% of those people are ethnic Chinese.

Locale Specific Issues

Date and Time Format

The format for representing dates in China is year first, then month, and then day. The year can be represented by the last two characters (you can drop the 19). The calendar is the Gregorian format, and the year, month, and date can be localized with Chinese characters.

Name Format

In English the full name format is first name and then last name. In Chinese the full name format is last name then first name. There is a lack of spacing between the names, and to make things even more confusing, the first and last names can be either one or two characters each. You may notice, however, that most Chinese people will have only one character in their last name, and in the US, many Chinese people have last names of only one syllable. People with two syllables in their last name usually have a two-character last name.

Political Issues

The next issues to be discussed relate to the Chinese political situation. This is where Chinese localization gets significantly different from traditional localization.

Regional Issues

As most people are aware, there is a stormy history between China and Taiwan. During World War II, there was a civil war in Taiwan. During the civil war, the Communist Party took over China and sent the existing government to Taiwan. There is sensitivity about the issue in both countries; Taiwan thinks of itself as a separate country, whereas China adamantly denies it.

There are regional issues outside of Taiwan as well. For example, Hong Kong is a special administrative region within China. Macau is a Chinese peninsula that was colonized by Portugal, but which will return to China this year with the understanding that it can maintain it’s free market economic system.

What Can We Help You?

  • Make the native Chinese tone content of your app
  • Choose the best effective keywords for your app
  • Cost-effective solution for localization

More detailed information about our localization services.