I am investigating whether a mobile app, which is currently in simplified Chinese (China mainland), should also be translated in the traditional Chinese used in Taiwan, in order to ensure greater diffusion and use by a Chinese user. My questions: -What is the language of newspapers, media and films in Taiwan? -Can a person from Taiwan read and understand Simplified Chinese? -From a cultural point of view, would a Taiwanese prefer to read the app in traditional Chinese?

Thank you

4 Answers 4


Is it necessary to translate an app from simplified Chinese to traditional Chinese for Taiwanese users?

Yes. It is necessary for a product in Taiwan.

What is the language of newspapers, media, and films in Taiwan?

It is the traditional character set that is the official and standard written language in Taiwan.

Can a person from Taiwan read and understand Simplified Chinese?

By education only, a person from Taiwan could not read the simplified character. But in practice, many people from Taiwan have little difficulty reading simplified characters.

From a cultural point of view, would a Taiwanese prefer to read the app in traditional Chinese?

Of cause. He or she has been learning it for at least 12 years.


Should you offer both simplified and traditional chinese for people in different areas? definitely.

Think of when games offer a british english and american english version. If you are on the other version then the one you are used to, you will see spellings that stick out and distract you, as well as whole words you don't know like blinker vs indicator. Also think of some fonts that are really hard to read, like a really intense cursive handwriting. Combine these together and you have a very rough approximation for the simplified vs traditional chinese experience. Yes most educated people can read both with practice, but it will always feel more comfortable to use the one you're used to.

That said, translation isn't needed. Well to be clear, some minor translation would be ideal to change vocab preferences like the blinker vs indicator example. However a simple conversion of simplified to traditional characters can be done in a single line of programming to alter if the unicode shows as hans or hant, or the text could be manually ran through something like google There are a small amount of characters the conversion would misidentify, but it would have probably 99% accuracy. Almost all chinese webpages and apps have a button programmed in to allow users to choose which they like for good user experience :)

  • 1
    You are correct, but, if the distance between British English and American English is 1 meter, then that between Traditional Chinese to Simplified Chinese would be 1 kilometer. Still, it is not very far, just 1-minute drive if you know the way to go. :-)
    – PdotWang
    Aug 30, 2023 at 13:45
  • @PdotWang some british and american accents are very different, even different enough to compare to standard mandarin vs sichuan mandarin that aren't mutually intelligible-- of course I wasn't referring to those either, but there are some that are similar to the differences of simplified and traditional in level. Only similar comparing the level of differences though, english and chinese are so different they don't even work the same way. None of them are literally the same differences. Hope that helps clarify what I meant in my comparison (◐‿◑)
    – zagrycha
    Sep 2, 2023 at 13:38

Probably not. If you can read traditional Chinese, you can read simplified Chinese.

  • 1
    Don't presume non-mainland Chinese can read all simplified characters, I cannot read 30% of simplified characters, that is unreasonable to not translate simplified Chinese to traditional Chinese and expect me to buy it. Without the help of Google Translate, I cannot fully understand articles in simplified characters
    – Tang Ho
    Aug 29, 2023 at 4:23
  • I am bewildered. How did people read SC before translation software became accurate and inexpensive? TC is used only in a small area including Taiwan and Hong Kong. SC is used throughout the world (including SE Asia) and is one of the official languages of the UN. Furthermore, how can anybody who is relatively fluent in Chinese not be able to guess what a SC character is from the context? Aug 29, 2023 at 8:41
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    What are you talking about? Simplified Chinese was only made official in 1956 in mainland China. Maybe Singapore and some parts of the Chinese communities in Malaysia from the 1970s onwards uses it, but hardly any other large Chinese community uses it. SC is also much harder to learn or guess than TC because SC is based on cursive scribbles rather than character structure - ask any non-Chinese person who uses Chinese characters in their language.
    – dROOOze
    Aug 29, 2023 at 8:54
  • Clearly not. SC was introduced during the 5.4 movement as many intellectuals worried about the complexity of TC creating undue iilliteracy. The KMT government abandoned the reform after meeting resistance. In fact SC is nothing new. It goes back who knows when as TC has been too complex for daily use. As for SC basing on cursive scribbles, that's a no. Aug 29, 2023 at 9:14
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    Yeah, no. Illiteracy was not because of characters, it was because the country was poor and didn’t have a good education system. The Simplification movement started at the end of the Qing dynasty due to unscientific ideas floating around thinking that a European alphabet would solve illiteracy. KMT abandoned Simplified Chinese because it’s useless, and it goes to show that Hong Kong and Taiwan never had a lower literacy rate than China. And yes, Simplified Chinese is based on cursive scribbles - this is very well attested.
    – dROOOze
    Aug 29, 2023 at 9:21

For simple mobile APP, "No", because most of the simplifications are common in both places. However, beware of some "function keys" that might have different names, or use different terminologies due to translation differences.

(Content modified on 8/30/2023)

  • even though I disagree with your point of view, I do not like someone making a negative flag on your answer. I can only reduce one by my own capability, as I did. Best regard.
    – PdotWang
    Aug 30, 2023 at 13:53
  • Yes, it is true that "most of the simplifications are common in both places", but as a product, if you take it officially, you still need to use the written language of that region.
    – PdotWang
    Aug 30, 2023 at 13:56
  • Official differs from commercial. An "APP" usually is for commercial use, and only involves a limited number of words. The things that need to be watched out for are the differences in some technical jargon and localized terms (專業術語和用詞). Thanks for the uptick, it affords five downvotes:)
    – r13
    Aug 30, 2023 at 21:28
  • I disagree with this statement of them being common. Yes its true, for most fully educated and exposed to the internet people, reading both simplified and traditional is easy regardless of which you start with. However even if you only look at those old and young, that is a big part of the population that will not have that experience and is enough to want to offer both.
    – zagrycha
    Sep 3, 2023 at 18:50
  • @zagrycha Agreed to disagree.
    – r13
    Sep 3, 2023 at 19:32

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