Tembua: The Precision Language Solution Newsletter
The Chinese (Non-)Conundrum
December 2015 
In This Issue
Tembua News
Fun things
The Chinese Conundrum
10% Discount in January
Tembua News:
We at Tembua would like to wish everyone a safe holiday season!   Our office will be closing at noon on both Christmas Eve day (December 24th) and New Year's Eve day (December 31st).

In addition, our office will be closed both Christmas Day (December 25th) and New Year's Day (January 1st) so our staff can celebrate with their families.

Fun things

Find a wide variety of Chinese fonts!

Linotype offers many new and classic Chinese fonts in several formats.

A list of holidays celebrated around the world in December is available here:

December Holidays


"The smaller our world becomes, the more important it is that we understand each other."

--Patricia May, CEO & President of Tembua

A different language is a different vision of life. 

~Federico Fellini

   The Chinese (Non-)Conundrum

The Chinese (Non-)Conundrum

Almost daily, Tembua receives requests for translation into Chinese. There are two questions we always ask:
  1. Do you need Simplified or Traditional Chinese?
Written Chinese originated during the sixth and seventh centuries B.C. Each written character represents a word or a unit of meaning called a morpheme. This is an important piece of information for Westerners, whose languages use alphabets from which words can be spelled phonetically. This is not the case with Chinese. An educated Chinese reader knows between 4,000 and 6,000 characters. Even a simple newspaper requires knowledge of roughly 3,000 characters.

Traditional Chinese

The Traditional writing system comes from forms used during the Han dynasty, 206 B.C. to 220 A.D., and is used in Macau, Hong Kong, and Taiwan and in other Chinese-speaking groups outside China. Before increased immigration from the People's Republic of China (PRC), Traditional Chinese was the language produced for immigrant communities in the U.S. Today, we need to define our audience more clearly to identify the Chinese system they need. Traditional Chinese can be very complex, each character having many strokes.

Simplified Chinese

After the revolution in 1949, the new Chinese government determined that the writing system should be revised to improve education and commerce. They simplified many of the Traditional characters. Today, this writing system is referred to as Simplified Chinese and is used not only in the PRC but also in Singapore and Malaysia.

At the beginning of a project, Tembua asks where the translation will be used. What group will be reading it? Knowing that, we can assign the appropriate translation team.

The use of Simplified versus Traditional Chinese also comes with overtones for government officials traveling. It is important to ask the right questions.

Click to finish The Chinese (Non-)Conundrum
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Patricia May
Tembua: The Precision Language Solution

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