Translating the Complexities of the Chinese Language

Chinese is considered the hardest language in the world to learn, yet more than one billion people speak it globally. When more than 17% of the earth uses the same language, it’s imperative to ensure the other 85% of the world is able to understand your translation. Chinese writing is broken down into two different variations – simplified and traditional – each of which have their own nuances. CQ fluency is the perfect fit to not only decipher and translate the language, but to convey the culture.

Why Is It So Difficult To Translate Chinese?

Even the Chinese government knew its language was difficult to learn, and in the middle of the twentieth century began to simplify its written characters. While newer generations are now using the Simplified version, areas like Taiwan and Hong Kong – the latter city is home to more than seven million residents – still use Traditional Chinese characters.

To make matters more complicated, the spoken language in Hong Kong is, by and large, Cantonese, while in Taiwan it’s Mandarin, but both use the traditional written language, while Singapore and most of mainland China write with newer, simplified characters. To simplify, here is a breakdown of how the Chinese language breaks down according to region:

  • Most of Mainland China:
    • Spoken Language – Mandarin
    • Written Language – Simplified
  • Hong Kong (China):
    • Spoken Language – Cantonese
    • Written Language: Traditional
  • Taiwan:
    • Spoken Language – Mandarin
    • Written Language: Traditional
  • Singapore:
    • Spoken Language – Mandarin
    • Written Language – Simplified


In the United States, where translation services are often needed, the specific Chinese language variants used typically depend by region and where those that live in the region immigrated from.  It is absolutely critical to understand the culture as CQ fluency does in order to translate the language properly.

One last wrench in the learning process: The written Chinese language is logographic, meaning words are conveyed in symbols, not letters the way many other world languages are communicated. There can be multiple symbols for different words but have the same spoken word.

For example, the words road, dew, deer, heron, to record, and land all have different written characters, but are all pronounced “lu.” Six words with their own individual symbols and just one pronunciation, it’s no wonder Chinese is the hardest language to learn.

Chinese is spoken by nearly 1.2 billion people worldwide. Knowing how to target and help a culture – not just a language – is paramount to achieving the success CQ fluency has become known for. We won’t just translate Cantonese or only Mandarin, we’re capable of both, along with the traditional and simplified versions of the world’s most widely spoken language – and we know when to use each!

One of the key differentiators for CQ fluency is that we understand these cultural differences and are able to translate both language and local linguistic variations and concepts. We are experts in both language and culture, ensuring an accurate Chinese translation every time.  This means more effective communication, resulting in improved healthcare and ultimately savings for the providers with greater consumer compliance to policy and/or guidelines.

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About CQ fluency

CQ fluency is a communications company that is passionate for culture, diversity and people. We are cultural and linguistic experts in the healthcare industry, helping clients communicate wellness to a diverse multicultural market. Our services are marked by:

  • Our translation management process, certified to ISO 9001 and 17100 standards which guarantees the highest standards of translation accuracy and quality
  • Our ability to guide you in the process of achieving Section 508 compliance
  • Our competitive pricing and quick turnarounds to ensure deadlines are met
  • Our expert translation services for Chinese and over 150 other languages
  • Translators that are hand picked and regularly evaluated to ensure superior quality Chinese Language Translation each and every time



Our services span from document translation, to phone interpretation, to linguistic validation and include:

  • Document translation: From medical records to product packaging, our document translation and DTP teams can help you translate and publish in over 100 languages.
  • 508 Compliance: Specific translation services to ensure that healthcare information is accessible to users of all languages (Read more about 508 Compliance here)
  • Website Localization: Whether you are starting afresh or updating legacy websites, our website localization teams ensure online success whatever the language.
  • Phone Interpretation: When serving customers and clients over the phone, language barriers may sometimes prove daunting. CQ fluency offers professional phone interpretation services that remove that barrier.
  • Transcreation: Transcreation is the art of mixing translation with creation to convey concepts from one language to another. CQ fluency works with teams of linguists to apply transcreation to advertising materials reaching a multicultural or international audience.
  • Linguistic Validation: CQ fluency’s linguistic validation processes are based on self-correcting iterations that deliver psychometric equivalence, keeping in accordance with new FDA and EMEA guidelines for Patient Reported Outcomes and clinical trials.

For a comprehensive list of our services and more detailed descriptions of our service offerings, please visit our services page.


At CQ fluency, we can provide translation services across industries, but specialize in areas throughout the healthcare industry including:

  • Health Insurance: Engage your Chinese speaking members in their own language, with their own cultural reference points. CQ fluency’s Chinese Translation Service paired with our Cultural Adaptation Service will lead you to a clear and meaningful connection with members.
  • Pharmaceutical: Chinese Language Translation through CQ fluency guarantees that your pharmaceutical communication is understandable, informative, medically accurate, and compliant to regulatory requirements.
  • Medical Devices: Partnering with CQ fluency gives you access to over 1,500 highly qualified medical translators and editors who will help you navigate the highly complex process of bringing a medical device to market.
  • Government: Government agencies can use CQ fluency’s Chinese Translation Service to improve the lives of primary Chinese speakers by ensuring that government healthcare communications promoting wellness, disease awareness, and social behavior modification are clear and concise.
  • Marketing & Advertising: Bring your brand to Chinese speaking communities in any location.

Contact Us

For more information on CQ fluency’s unique approach to Chinese Language Translation or to ask any questions please fill out our contact form at the top of the page.

If you would like a quote, please see our quote request page.