Spoken Language and Written Script of the two languages

The chart below might be useful to you to make explanation to your clients:

Simplified Chinese

Simplified Chinese is the standard written script of modern Chinese, which is comparative with Traditional Chinese. Simplified Chinese is mainly composed of simplified characters which PRC advocated to use in 1950 and later. Now it is mostly used in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Chinese community in Southeast Asia.

Traditional Chinese

Long after the Chinese civil war (which caused the separation as we know), Chinese Nationalist Party retreated into Taiwan. Traditional Chinese become the official language of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao.

Both of the language uses the standard Chinese grammar, so there is no big difference in expression, but there are big differences in technique glossary and terms, especially in IT field. For example, “ballpoint pen” is called by “原子笔” in Taiwan and Hong Kong, but it is called by “圆珠笔”.

Spoken Language Written Script
Mainland China Mandarin Simplified Chinese
Hong Kong SAR Cantonese Traditional Chinese
Taiwan Mandarin Traditional Chinese
Singapore Mandarin Simplified Chinese

The written scripts of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and mainland China are also different for similar reasons as above; the only difference is that before the handover in 1997, Hong Kong was under British government’s control instead of Chinese people. In fact, the spoken language used in Hong Kong SAR is the same as the spoken language used in Canton province of China. This is why it is incorrect to request a written target language as Cantonese.


1) Cantonese is not a written language,

2) Canton province of mainland China also uses Cantonese as spoken language, but the written language used there is Simplified Chinese rather than Traditional Chinese (which is used in Hong Kong).

As seen in the chart, the written scripts used in Taiwan and Hong Kong SAR are both Traditional Chinese, but they are not completely the same. This is because Hong Kong people adopted both terms from mainland China and terms from Taiwan, and they also have some terms defined by themselves.