Mandarin vs. Cantonese Interpreting
What’s the difference?
Have you ever heard someone talking in another language and immediately thought that it sounded like they were speaking Chinese? Well, you weren’t exactly correct. There are many different variants of the Chinese language, with two of the most popular forms being Mandarin and Cantonese. With Chinese being spoken in 37 different countries, CIT provides both Mandarin and Cantonese interpreting services all over the United States. Here is some background on the two dialects:
- Mandarin – Since the early 20th century, Mandarin has been the official language in China and is also spoken in Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan. It has since then been one of the most common forms of Chinese with nearly one billion speakers in the world. Mandarin is commonly used in most Chinese schools, government institutions and used in all forms of Chinese media, medicine, and music.
- Cantonese – While being the more difficult version of the Chinese language, Cantonese is still spoken in Hong Kong, Macau, and Canton. The most challenging part of Cantonese would be its use of tones and pitch used to convey an emotion or to change the meaning of a sentence. It also makes it the harder language to learn with 6 to 9 different tones all with different meanings.
They are not mutually intelligible. A Mandarin speaker will not be able to understand a Cantonese speaker. This mostly has to do with the specific tones each language uses. Mandarin uses 4 tones while Cantonese can use up to 9 tones, all very distinct. While Mandarin is spoken the exact same way as it is written, Cantonese is not.
When it comes to similarities, Mandarin and Cantonese do, however, share the same base alphabet. If the interpreter was handed a piece of paper written by a Mandarin or Cantonese speaker, they will be able to understand it whether they were a Mandarin or Cantonese interpreter.
Why Choose CIT?
When it comes to Mandarin and Cantonese interpreting services, there is no one else to turn to besides CIT. Our interpreters are skilled, talented, and thorough from beginning to end. Since the differences between Mandarin and Cantonese are so specific and distinct, you can bet we will find a perfect match of an interpreter for your next assignment.
Will CIT be able to provide an interpreter who can interpret between Mandarin and Cantonese? The answer is yes! We will always provide the most knowledgeable and professional interpreters in the nation. Our firm knows that the Chinese population is large and growing and with respect to the culture, CIT is here to provide unmatched interpreting services.
We provide services for almost every setting including:
- Medical appointments
- Document signings
- + More!