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There are many free online tools that can convert Traditional Chinese characters to Simplified Chinese characters. However, most of them don't look at context to provide an accurate translation; they just use a table to convert each character one at a time.

It's my assumption that established, for-profit companies have invested more and can translate more accurately between Traditional and Simplified Chinese. I have access to the following tools and want to know if any is more accurate than the other:

Is my assumption correct, or do these services just convert each character individually without accounting for differences? Are there other tools that are better?

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    All of the tools you listed consider the context, e.g. you can test "乾燥乾隆" and 乾 should be different in simplified Chinese, but I don't know which one is the best (btw there's a new version of Office on Mac!). – Stan Jun 28 '15 at 3:55
  • I can only speak for google translate because I use them often. With a strong (live) database behind it, it is better. e.g. for tricky cases where simplified and traditional cases are mixed (like 周杰伦 cannot simply be translated to 周傑倫) – leo4jc Jun 29 '15 at 18:05
  • @leo4jc simplified Chinese:周杰伦, traditional Chinese:周杰倫 – Reming Hsu Jun 30 '15 at 1:43
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Tools followed the following rules to convert different language with their database.

  1. idiom. e.g.心想事成
  2. famous people and things. e.g.乾隆
  3. there are the same pronunciation of adjective. e.g.乾燥
  4. one by one characters.

Traditional and simplified Chinese are special, they have the same pronunciation of characters.

But some words and expressions are different, and tools won't translate for that. e.g. Traditional:計程車 = Simplified:出租车or的士,but you won't get the result.

So followed the following rules.

  1. famous people and things. e.g.乾隆 <-> 乾隆,周杰倫 <-> 周杰伦
  2. there are the same pronunciation of adjective. e.g.乾燥 <-> 干燥
  3. one by one characters.

The above are my experience, i am a programer and i am taiwanese.

  • Thank you. I ended up using Google Translate. I translated 200 song titles from Traditional Chinese to Simplified Chinese, then had a native speaker check them. There were only two small errors. Now I will be translating the 200 songs themselves, and I'll report back on how many changes needed to be made after a native speaker checks them. As a side note, I also used Google Translate to translate the Traditional Chinese titles into Romanized Mandarin (Pinyin) and there were a lot of corrections that needed to be made. – Samuel Bradshaw Jul 7 '15 at 3:49
  • As a follow-up, after using Google Translate to convert the text of the 200 songs from Traditional to Simplified Chinese, only about 50 of them required any corrections, and where there were corrections made it was only 1–2 characters in each of the 50 songs, out of an average of maybe 160 characters per song. So, the accuracy rate is pretty good, but I am glad I had a native speaker to review. – Samuel Bradshaw Aug 15 '15 at 23:40

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