Cantonese Translation Services

CIT provides translation & interpreting services for various languages in China

About The Cantonese Language

Cantonese is a variant of the Yue language branch, a primary branch of the Chinese language. Cantonese is therefore a variety of Chinese. The name ‘Cantonese’ is often used to describe the entire language branch, including some mutually unintelligible varieties of Yue, such as Taishanese. This is due to Cantonese being considered the prestige (the most common and correct variety of a language or dialect) variant of the Yue language branch.

Cantonese is a lingua franca, or common language in mainland China — specifically in the province of Guangdong, as well as some neighboring areas.

It is the majority language of Hong Kong and other regions, including the Pearl River Delta. Cantonese is one of the major varieties of Chinese spoken by overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia and is the predominant variety spoken in the Western World, including the United States, Canada, and Europe. Today, there are an estimated 80 million Cantonese speakers in the world.

Cantonese Dialects:

It is often disputed whether Cantonese is a language or a dialect. In fact, in 2014, Hong Kong’s Bureau of education deleted an article from their website claiming “Cantonese is not an official language” after it garnered much criticism from Hong Kong locals. While some people say that Cantonese is a dialect of Chinese, others insist that it is its own language. Who is right- and how do dialects differ from languages anyway? To quote from The Economist:

“Two kinds of criteria distinguish languages from dialects. The first is social and political: in this view, ‘languages’ are typically prestigious, official, and written, whereas ‘dialects’ are mostly spoken, unofficial, and looked down upon. […] Linguists have a different criterion: if two related kinds of speech are so close that speakers can have a conversation and understand each other, they are dialects of a single language. If comprehension is difficult to impossible, they are distinct languages.”

So, by linguistic or academic criterion, Cantonese is not a dialect of Chinese. Rather it is a language, as are Shanghaiese, Mandarin, and other kinds of Chinese, which are not mutually comprehensible. Applying a social or political criterion, Cantonese is a dialect of Chinese.

Countries/Territories where Cantonese is spoken

Hong Kong

Cantonese Speaking Country Data:

Country: China

Capital: Beijing
Population: 1.357 billion
Current Government headed by: President Xi Jinping
Currency: Renminbi (CNY)
GDP: 11 trillion
Unemployment: 4%
Government Type: Communist Party of China
Industries: Mining, iron and steel, aluminum, coal, machinery, armaments, textiles and apparel, petroleum, cement, chemical fertilizers, food processing, automobiles, and other transportation equipment including rail cars and locomotives, ships, and aircraft, consumer products.

Cantonese History & Development

Cantonese was developed from Middle Chinese (formerly known as Ancient Chinese). The word Cantonese is derived from the word Canton, the former English name of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong. This is the birthplace of Cantonese. Guangzhou was once considered the home of the most perfect form of Cantonese, however, through decades of media and pop culture evolution, Hong Kong is now recognized as the cultural epicenter of the Cantonese language.

Although Mandarin is the standard and official language of mainland China, it has only existed for about 700 or 800 years, while Cantonese history dates back roughly 2000 years. Cantonese is mostly an oral language, and is full of slang and non-standard usage.

Interesting Facts about Cantonese:

Spoken and written Cantonese differs, with written Cantonese being very similar to Standard Chinese and Mandarin.
Cantonese is generally thought to have six different tones, which are used to differentiate words.
Most schools in Hong Kong teach Cantonese instead of Mandarin
It can actually be considered culturally inappropriate to speak Mandarin to Hong Kong residents while in Hong Kong. According to the Basic Law of Hong Kong, Cantonese is the official language and should be treated as such.


Single Documents Accepted
No Minimum Project Size
No Extra Fee For Certified
Open 24/7
24 hour


Single Documents Accepted
No Minimum Project Size
No Extra Fee For Certified
Open 24/7
24 hour
To Our California Interpreting Clients: CIT Employees Certified CAL. EVID. CODE § 754 Translators

There are approximately 10,000,000 (ten million) people who have hearing loss in the United States, and it’s estimated that about 1,000,000 (one million) of them are considered functionally deaf. As a result, The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act requires businesses to accommodate these disabilities by making reasonable accommodations for normal day-to-day communication needs such as providing sign language or captioning during remote video meetings so those participating can communicate more easily.

The ability to reserve a certified sign-language interpreter is of paramount importance. Our professional courteous and experienced interpreters are the logical choices in facilitating communications between the hearing enabled, people who are deaf or hard-of hear, they can also help those that have limited speech due to medical conditions like paralysis caused by stroke
or ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).

Cal Interpreting & Translations
Local Offices

12304 Santa Monica Blvd. Ste. 300
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Cal Interpreting & Translations
Corporate Offices

2501 W. Burbank Blvd. Ste. 311
Burbank, CA 91505

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