Traditional Chinese is a standardized way of writing in modern Chinese. The Traditional Chinese has a history of more than 2,000 years. Until the 20th century, it had been a commonly used standard for Chinese writing by Chinese people all over the world. Since the implementation of the simplified characters by the People’s Republic of China in 1956, the traditional Chinese characters before simplification were collectively referred to as traditional Chinese characters, and they have been still called Traditional Chinese in foreign countries so far, while the Chinese that has been simplified is called Simplified Chinese. As opposed to Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese is a standardized way of writing in modern Chinese. The Simplified Chinese is mainly composed of the inherited characters and the simplified characters that the government of the People’s Republic of China has started to promote in Chinese mainland after 1950. The Simplified Chinese is usually equated with the Chinese character system (standard Chinese characters) currently used in Chinese mainland.

Differences between Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese:

  1. Glyph Difference: The Chinese character patterns of Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese have significant differences.
  2. Vocabulary Difference: for example, the word “软件” (software) commonly used in Simplified Chinese, which is called “软体” in traditional Chinese.
  3. Time Difference: Simplified Chinese is mainly composed of the inherited characters and the simplified characters promoted by the government of the People’s Republic of China, while Traditional Chinese has a history of more than 3,000 years. Until 1956, they were the standard characters of Chinese commonly used by Chinese people all over the world.

Traditional Chinese is classified into “Taiwanese characters” and “Hong Kong and Macao traditional Chinese characters”. There are certain differences in the use of characters. The Taiwanese characters are the most primitive and complicated old-fashioned traditional Chinese characters, while the Hong Kong and Macao traditional Chinese characters are in new patterns that have been simplified and alienated. The Kanji used in Japanese are the combination of Taiwanese characters + Hong Kong and Macao traditional Chinese characters + simplified characters.

At present, the number of users of Chinese characters exceeds 1.7 billion in the world, covering China’s entire territory (Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan) and overseas Chinese communities in Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar, etc. Simplified Chinese is currently widely used in Chinese Mainland, Singapore and Malaysia, while Traditional Chinese is commonly used in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and overseas Chinese communities.

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