Chinese is not a single language, but rather a group of languages ​​spoken by people in China and surrounding areas. There are many regional dialects and varieties. Some of the most important are Chinese Mandarins, Wu, Guan, Yu, Xiang, Min, Hakka, and Gan. Linguists often call these distinct varieties of different languages ​​because there are some significant differences between them. Despite these differences, there are also huge similarities because every dialect has the same root. English, on the other hand, is considered a global language, unlike a regional language. English is an alphabetical language that uses Latin and Roman letters, while Chinese is a non-alphabetic language that uses characters to form words and sentences.

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Another great thing about Chinese is that Chinese characters tend to take up less space on a page than English words. An English content page can often produce a quarter of a page in Chinese characters. This makes the content design process challenging in many cases. The issue is more complex, and usually, one English word requires the spelling of at least two Chinese characters, which can cause the word count to increase in the Chinese text, even though the Chinese text takes up much less space on the page. This can cause problems for inexperienced translators and interpreters as they try to keep track of the amount of work completed.

Simplified characters

Simplified characters in Simplified Chinese were introduced so that people could easily learn basic language skills such as writing, speaking, reading, and listening. However, in some areas, such as Hong Kong and Taiwan, the traditional aspects of the Chinese language are still followed. Chinese words may seem complicated at first glance, but they can be learned by understanding simplified characters.

Below are some of the most common mistakes that native English speakers make in Simplified Chinese.

Parts of a sentence

Chinese mainly uses parts of speech such as nouns, pronouns, verbs, and adjectives. Conjunctions are sometimes used to connect two ideas. Nouns are placed at the location of the object and the object and are written in the same way in both singular and plural forms. Verbs are used according to the syntactic structure and context of the sentence. The agreement between nouns, pronouns, verbs, and adjectives is not given much importance. At the same time, English has eight parts of speech, all of which are of considerable importance in terms of syntax, semantics, and practice. The subject-verb convention is also followed, for example, a single subject takes a singular verb, while a plural-subject verb. English speakers also put adverbs at the end of sentences, while in Chinese they must be added before the verb. These adverbs provide more information about verbs and are grouped by time, manner, and place.

Native English speakers often do not understand the complexity of Chinese grammar sections or subject-verb convention in Chinese and therefore often make mistakes in these areas.


In English, a syllable is a single vowel that helps create meaning in a word. This vowel tone follows consonants to create multiple syllables and produce a complete and meaningful word. The words are one-eyed and multi-looped in English. In Chinese, each simplified character represents one syllable. These bytes are then combined to form words. Therefore, Chinese words are considered polygonal.

English speakers must understand the Chinese byte system to avoid morphological errors.

Measure the words

In Chinese, words are not changed or altered to indicate singularity or pluralism. Instead, the Chinese language uses measure words to indicate pluralism. For example, say "5 apples" to express pluralism instead of adding the plural "-s" to the end of words.

When native English speakers speak or write Chinese, they often make the mistake of adding pluralism, which is not necessary for Chinese.

Underestimated tone

In English, a change in pitch during the pronunciation of a word does not change the meaning and context of the word because English is not a tonal language. On the other hand, the importance of tones cannot be underestimated in Chinese. Pronunciation cannot be learned without good sound control. The meaning of the word changes according to the tone used.

Native English speakers often do not know the meaning of tones and therefore often make mistakes in this aspect of Chinese.

Excessive use of the words "and"

In English, "and" are used primarily to correspond to two words or phrases with similar ideas. However, the same does not apply to the Chinese language.

Often native English speakers connect connecting Chinese sentences with the word "and", which is completely grammatical. Chinese phrases do not need the "and" (as) suffix.


Pronunciation in Chinese requires the practice of tones, vowels, and some complex consonants. Sounds are paramount, and it is difficult for native speakers to understand how to use them. The pronunciation of complex consonants is necessary to master to achieve fluency when speaking and discussing Chinese.

Subject-comment structure

The following speak SVO order in their native English language and do not change this order under any circumstances. In Chinese, however, the most important words (topics) are set first, regardless of grammatical activity, while the rest of the sentence follows. This concept is initially complex for native English speakers who need practice and exposure to the language to apply it correctly.

Note: If you need help translating a document from English to Chinese, we have a specialized team of native translators who will be happy to help you. It is a pleasure to help you.

Precise information

The Chinese language is usually very accurate in conversations. Chinese speakers do not want to add unnecessary information that can be ignored without hindering the conversation. On the other hand, native English speakers often want to give complete and detailed information in their sentences. This is a small but important adjustment needed for English speakers when speaking Chinese.


In English, questions or questionnaires are formed with topic help with a twist or etiquette questions. In Chinese, however, the particles are used to ask questions, while the rest of the speech remains unchanged.


There are 10,000 Chinese characters commonly used to make words. All Chinese words are formed from these simplified characters. The language has also introduced loanwords from other languages ​​and cultures. Native English speakers need to learn this Chinese vocabulary to learn the language.


People often face linguistic, semantic, and practical problems while learning a new language. These problems can be solved by training, repeated exposure, and continuous error correction. English and Chinese belong to completely different language families, which means that English speakers must carefully study all the differences that occur in both languages. This is a worthwhile endeavor as the use of Chinese is growing rapidly around the world.

The international business community has a strong reliance on the Chinese language, and the language is also associated with many other large organizations. In general, there are many practical reasons for learning to travel to China as a new language. Also, the ability to form a cultural connection if you visit the country for one day is an invaluable resource and makes the trip self-sustaining.

Author's Bio: 

In this lecture I examine the most common errors made by Chinese students in Chinese-into-English translation.