Six Reasons to Translate Into Chinese

Your translation dollars only go so far and you need to maximize your return on investment. Why translate into Chinese? Consider these six arguments:

1. China is a market of 1.3 billion consumers. With the Internet, you have access to the vast majority of them. However, if you want the average Chinese consumer to open their wallet for you, you are going to need to approach them in their native language. This is true whether you are an app developer or selling detergent.

Plants vs. Zombies is an app that has made a lot of money. It is very popular in China, but this was not always the case. Leo Liu was responsible for bringing the game to China. “We were amazed by how much support we got from our fans in China after we localized Plants vs. Zombies on iPhone into Chinese. The comment boards were flooded with positive comments, and in only three days, the Chinese version reached the number one paid application spot on the China App Store. We’re selling twice as many copies now, in Chinese, than we ever sold in English,” Liu said.

2. The vast majority of Chinese citizens only speak Mandarin and their local dialect. Most do not speak English, Hindi, Japanese, Portuguese, etc. Those who do speak several languages are centered in the main cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Studies have shown, repeatedly, that even when consumers can speak and read another language they prefer to make their purchases in their native language.

By translating your information into Chinese, not only are you localizing it for the consumers outside of the main cities, but you are tremendously increasing your chances of connecting with those in the cities as well.

3. The Chinese are addicted to their smartphones. Even outside the major cities, smartphones are becoming a way of life in 21st-century China. America is still getting used to Uber, Paypal, Applepay, etc. China has an app known as WeChat. WeChat is a multi-use app that can be used to signal a taxi, pay for groceries, play games, and, of course, chat. The Chinese love to be connected and have used this app for years.

Do you know why those billions of people are not visiting your site while they are spending all that time online? Your site is not translated into Chinese or SEO optimized for the Chinese search engines.

4. Despite what the trade deficits may say, the Chinese love foreign brands. Buying foreign products is seen as a sign of status and wealth, and status is important in China. Even so, the western brands need to have product descriptions, setup information, safety information, and marketing materials written in Mandarin.

The Chinese love to drink Coca-cola, but Coke was smart enough to have their information translated a very long time ago. If you want to order a Big Mac at McDonalds, you need to read Mandarin because McDonalds knew their products needed to be translated for the Chinese market. In short, the Chinese people are eager and excited to buy your product and service, but you have to make it available to them in a way they understand.

5. China will soon be the largest economy in the world. Alibaba’s $25 billion IPO was the largest ever. The Chinese are buying up landmarks and homes in bankrupt Detroit, and New York’s famed Waldorf Astoria in New York was recently purchased by the Chinese insurance giant, Anbang. The once IBM, now Lenovo, computer is made in China and so are all of your Apple products. Even the American game of basketball may soon be dominated by the Chinese. The Cleveland Cavaliers are partially owned by Chinese investor Kenny Huang.

Chances are, if you are not translating into Chinese today, you will be soon. Why be on the tail end of the train when you can lead the way?

6. Many of your business dealings may be taking place in China already and the lack of translation is leading to errors that are avoidable. The China Law Blog recently noted that many millions of dollars are wasted every year on silly miscommunications because documents are not clearly translated. They commented that there are a “whole slew of mediocre translators in China who will give their bosses a bad translation rather than admit that they do not understand English.” When you take the time to provide them a proper Chinese translation, miscommunication dissolves, and productivity increases.

Professional translation into Chinese can open doors to market possibilities unlike anywhere else in the world. China has a growing economy with people eager to try new brands and explore new services. A technologically sound culture is just waiting for information to be presented so they can act on it. The door is open, all you have to do is step through.


  1. Selina

    Very nicely explained these reason. Some o them are beneficial for us.

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