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China is one of the largest and fastest growing economies on the planet in the 21st century. Possessing one of the largest industrial forces in the modern world, the second largest population second only to India, and one of the biggest export markets out there, it has become a political and economic juggernaut to be reckoned with.
The land of China has four thousand years of history, and is recognized by anthropologists and cultural historians as the oldest still-standing civilization on our planet. They are renowned for their cuisine, extensive martial arts expertise as a culture, and in the eyes of many, an alphabet that is impossible to read if one is an English speaker.
With its economy being so prevalent in the international business world, it is becoming more and more common for English speaking businesses to need Chinese translation services in order to properly conduct business with their colleagues in Asia.
There a few solutions to this problem, and depending on budget, severity of need, and resources available, different solutions may be proper for different scenarios.
One of the more affordable, common ways to approach it is the use of translation software. While this service has its flaws, it is getting better. Its use in Chinese translation has increased since 2002, when new regular expression-driven translation methods became possible on affordable, off-the-shelf computers.
Prior to the turn of the century, Chinese translation via translation software would have been considered a last ditch effort if all else failed because of the methods the software used. This was not due to incompetence or poor skill via the programmers of the software but due largely to a limitation of power by way of the computers most people had in their homes and office. This was especially true of Mandarin translation as well as other Chinese translations.
When conducting Chinese translation, the software of the day would often just use a lookup table of vocabulary match ups and use a very simple formulaic process of piecing them together in an attempt at modified syntax. This was all the power the computer could spare, and it was slow. The result was an awkward, functional but not pleasant translation that could almost be considered insulting. While this worked less pitifully with European languages, it failed greatly when it came to Mandarin translation and any other more specific Chinese translations.
Variations of the Chinese translator and other translators, many of which are free, have gotten better. Some small businesses and individual freelance workers who deal occasionally with Chinese speakers use Google Translations as a method of Chinese translation, but it still is far from perfect, computers still lacking the human element of context and interrelation that makes language so complex as a whole.
For those curious as to why a computer can take instructions but not be capable of processing the subtle nuances of a human language, one can simply look up a computer programming language like C or BASIC, and look at the strict implicit rules they use, as a computer can only follow literal instructions.
If a company deals moderately with Chinese partners, a Chinese translation service can be hired and put on retainer when needed to provide translations done by native speakers of both languages. This method of Chinese translation is viable, because it contains that human element needed to grasp the abstract changes and differences that are involved in translation, especially in languages so fundamentally different such as is the case when English is involved in Mandarin translation as well as other forms of Chinese translations.
Companies who intend to do a very large and profitable amount of interaction with Chinese partners can also hire interns to train in native Mandarin or Cantonese to work for the company as a dedicated Chinese translator. This is an expensive method, but often works well if there is enough frequent need for translation, and also opens up job opportunities in both the English speaking country as well as in China for translators in both directions.
Chinese translation is one of the more difficult of the language barriers to cross, but a Chinese speaker can attest that it’s not much fun in the other direction either, English being a difficult language to learn and one of the most fickle languages to translate to and from almost any other language, especially Chinese.
For those unsure of what form of Chinese translator to use, or the gravity of the translation work or challenge, the best thing to do is first research the Chinese language and learn a bit about its origins, history, and its nature. In comparison, it is also a good idea to read about the troubles of foreign people trying to learn English, and its stumbling blocks. Also, it is important to notice the nuances that are different between Mandarin translation and other Chinese translations.
Having taken that opportunity to understand the problems and benefits of both languages, it is then a good idea to search the internet via Google or another engine for Chinese translation services that fit one’s budget and level of need.