About the Cantonese Translation

The (粤语 or 粵語) Yuè dialects, also known as Cantonese (Guăngdōnghuà), are one of the major dialects of P.R.China. They are spoken by 52 million people in the province of Guăngdōn and in the city of Guăngzhōu, as well as in Hong Kong, Macau, and in expatriate Chinese communities and Chinatowns in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States. The total number of Cantonese speakers is estimated at 62 million people. The origins of Cantonese are not known due to absence of reliable historical records, however, it is generally agreed that it had developed linguistics traits that distinguished it from other Chinese dialects by the time of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD).

Cantonese Translation

The Cantonese and Mandarin are two dialects of the Chinese language and are both spoken in China. They share the same base vocabulary, but as a spoken language they are distinct and not mutually intelligible.


Mandarin is the official national language of Mainland China and is the lingua franca of the country. In much of the country, it is the primary spoken language, including Beijing and Shanghai, although many provinces still retain their own local dialect. Mandarin is the official language of mainland China and Taiwan. Cantonese is the official language of HK and also one in Macau.

Cantonese is spoken by the people of Hong Kong, Macau and the wider Guangdong province, including Guangzhou (previously Canton in English). Most foreign Chinese communities, such as those in London and San Francisco, also speak Cantonese because historically Chinese immigrants hailed from Guangdong.

Mandarin uses simplified Chinese characters, while Cantonese uses traditional. If you know traditional characters, it’s easy to understand the simplified ones, but not the other way around. Mandarin has a mere four tones compared with the six of Cantonese.

Do All Chinese People Speak Mandarin?

No -- while many Hong Kong people are now learning Mandarin as a second language, they will, for the most part, not speak the language. The same is true to the Macau. Canton province has seen an influx of Mandarin speakers and many people there now speak Mandarin. Many other regions in China will also speak their regional language natively and knowledge of Mandarin may be patchy.

A.C.T. (Ace Chinese Translation) offers professional and high-quality Cantonese translation (https://www.actranslation.com/chinese/chinese-cantonese.htm) service and your materials will be handled by native Cantonese translators (https://www.actranslation.com/chinese/cantonese-translator.htm).

Both of these two dialects are considered “Chinese language” – they use the same written language, but they are mutually unintelligible when spoken. Some people used the “the chicken talking to the duck” (鸡同鸭讲 – jī tóng yā jiǎng) to describe a Mandarin and Cantonese speaker talking to each other. There are tons of words and phrases unique to both Cantonese and Mandarin. For example, a large number of English words made their way into Cantonese when HK was a British colony.


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