When you consider the importance of the motor industry in terms of worldwide industry it is probable that you will not think of China as a major force. However, it may surprise you to learn that in terms of units produced, China has been the biggest producer of motor vehicles since as early as 2008. It is now a fact that China produces more vehicles than the USA and Japan combined; that is a quite astonishing fact when one stops for a few seconds to consider it.
What has this to do with Language Inc.? It’s a good question, but consider this: a decade ago you may not have considered buying a South Korean or Malaysian car. Now, they are among the most popular on the roads in many countries across the world. Their rise to prominence has been meteoric, and the same will become of the Chinese motor industry over the next few years. Exports are not yet common as most are manufactured for the domestic market, but it will not be long before Chinese cars become commonplace on our roads. That means vastly increased use of Mandarin Chinese in the international motor industry as suppliers of parts and distribution networks become involved.
At Language Inc. we have always stressed the importance of Mandarin as a world business language, but we also believe the upcoming growth and expansion of the Chinese motor vehicle industry will make it even more widely required. We provide a full range of translation, copy editing and proof reading services for this very different and difficult to learn language and we use only native speakers with experience and training. For more information on our range of solutions get in touch now, and see how we can help make your life easier.
Background and status
Cantonese is spoken by approximately 62 million speakers worldwide and is the official language in Hong Kong (along with English) and in Macau (along with Portuguese). Although Cantonese shares much vocabulary with Mandarin Chinese, the two languages are not mutually intelligible because of pronunciation, grammatical, and also lexical differences. Since the early 1900s, China has promoted Mandarin for use in education, the media and official communication. The proclamation of Mandarin as the official national language however was not fully accepted by the Cantonese authority in the early 20th century who argued for the "regional uniqueness" of its local dialect, and the use of Cantonese persisted in a few state television and radio broadcasts to this day.
Usage and growth
Cantonese is also the main language of business, the media and government in both Hong Kong and Macau and is viewed as part of the cultural identity. Cultural products like pop songs, movies, magazines, newspapers and literature are highly popular among not only the Cantonese-speaking but also the non-Cantonese-speaking populations in Greater China, which helps expand the status of Cantonese as a respected regional variety of the Chinese language. Due to the linguistic history of Hong Kong and Macau, and the use of Cantonese in many overseas Chinese communities, international usage of Cantonese has spread far out of proportion to its relatively small number of speakers in China, even though the majority of Cantonese speakers still live in mainland China.
Background and status
‘Chinese’ is not really a language at all. It’s a group of languages that share certain characteristics, but that can also be different to the point of being mutually unintelligible (much like romance languages). These days, when people talk about ‘Chinese’, they’re almost always referring to either Mandarin or Cantonese, two of the most widely-spoken sub-languages in the Chinese language family, but there are hundreds of dialects of Chinese that are spoken by smaller groups of people across the globe.
Mandarin is the most widely-spoken variety of Chinese, and in fact the most widely-spoken language on earth (at least in terms of native speakers – nearly a billion). It is the official language of both the People’s Republic of China, one of the four official languages of Singapore and one of the six official languages of the United Nations. In everyday English, ‘Mandarin’ refers to Standard Chinese, which is often also called ‘Simplified Chinese’. It is also one of the most frequently used varieties of Chinese among Chinese diaspora communities internationally.
Although there are other Chinese languages such as Cantonese (spoken in Hong Kong) that are very distinct from Mandarin, many of these languages use Chinese characters for their written form, so that Mandarin speakers and Cantonese speakers (for example) can understand each other through writing, even though the spoken languages are mutually too complex.
Growth and usage
Given China’s rise as a world power and its role in the world economy, business ties between China and the rest of the world are developing rapidly. An understanding of Mandarin has therefore become a key to commercial ventures based in China. As it stands, Mandarin is the language of government, commerce and pop songs in China and usage of the language is growing at a breakneck pace. Just seven years ago, state media reported only about half of China’s population spoke Mandarin, compared with about 70 percent today. China’s staggering economic growth is playing a big role in Mandarin’s expansion. Increasingly, Mandarin is the language of survival, and opportunity.