It’s surprising how many people don’t know if in Taiwan they speak Taiwanese Language or Chinese. With so many dialects and languages, keeping up with Taiwan’s linguistic developments is hard. The truth is that although their cultures seem interchangeable at times, they are, in fact, two distinct languages.
Chinese Mandarin has been the official language of Taiwan since 1945, although Taiwanese Hokkien, commonly known as Taiwanese, is also spoken by about 70% of the population daily. But there are many regions within the country where the residents also speak Taiwanese Hakka and several other indigenous languages.
With all this history and culture, it’s bound that there will be linguistic intricacies involved as well. This is why when it comes to localising Taiwanese languages, one needs to be prepared for the regional reality there.
Companies wishing to begin exploring the Taiwanese-speaking market will find that localising translations with a professional agency have a significant impact on sales numbers. If you’re interested in discovering more about localising in Taiwan, you’ve come to the right place.
Best Language to Localise Videos for Taiwan
There are more than 1.1 billion Mandarin Chinese speakers worldwide, making it the second most spoken language in the world after English. It is an important target market for new businesses to reach.
Whether you want to do a voice-over, dub, subtitle, or narrate, localising into Taiwan gives you access to an expanding new community worldwide. International companies have enjoyed great success localising their marketing and ad campaigns, training videos, TV and radio spots, VOD (video on demand), e-learning materials, video games, and much more.
Something special happens when you focus your efforts on one goal and do it very well. You not only expand your reach, but also open a whole new world of marketing possibilities.
Taiwanese Mandarin is the most common localising language for Taiwan, but there are times when Taiwanese Hokkien may be the most suitable choice for a voiceover. Talking to voice professionals that recognise these differences is important before deciding which dialect is the best vehicle for your message.
Taiwan’s national languages:
Let’s talk a little more about the languages spoken in Taiwan:
Mandarin is the official language within Taiwan and is considered the country’s lingua franca, as it is the chosen language for most official matters, including education, official papers, entertainment, and many other aspects of life.
There are many differences in pronunciation and vocabulary between Taiwanese mandarin and Chinese mandarin, which are mainly due to the differences between the two sides in geography, history, politics, social culture and language environment.
Hokkien or Taiwanese
Taiwanese Hokkien is the Taiwanese dialect of the Hokkien language. The language faced repression in the past, but experienced a revival upon the lifting of martial law and has been growing across Taiwan ever since. But still, given the widespread use of Mandarin, Taiwanese Hokkien is considered somewhat of a minority language, and only very few studios can offer effective translation services for this language.
Sources indicate that Hakka speakers live mainly in rural areas such as Hsinchu, Miaoli and Kaohsiung. Approximately 6.6% of Taiwanese people speak this language at home.
The Hakka were a nomadic group of people from Central China that migrated to Taiwan. Today they comprise between 15 and 20% of the Taiwanese population.
Formosan languages or aboriginal languages
The Formosan languages are Taiwan’s most important cultural heritage. It is estimated that more than 250 million people speak around 1,000 varieties of Austronesian. Taiwanese aborigines currently comprise about 2% of the island’s population.
However, far fewer can still speak their ancestral language after centuries of language shift. There are approximately 26 languages of the Taiwanese aborigines, but approximately ten are extinct, another four are moribund, and several others are to some degree endangered.
If you are reaching new audiences in the Taiwanese Language, a place with a very distinct cultural identity from China, you need more than just a translation to connect with your listeners and viewers; you will need knowledge and authenticity to choose between the Taiwanese Language or Chinese.
Professional linguists at GoLocalise are acutely aware of how word choice, phrasing, and accents influence perception and meaning. Their Mandarin and Taiwanese specialists and voice talent deliver that nuance and context. They are aware of the unique regional characteristics between Chinese Mandarin and Taiwanese Language and other ethnically small communities.
Moreover, their work passes through both peer review and quality control to ensure the finished product is culturally relevant and immersive. The result is high-quality localisation, and it’s what GoLocalise has done over the years for clients as diverse as film studios, gaming companies, web content providers and ad agencies.
GoLocalise studios have a great networking infrastructure and thousands of contacts that allow them to localise like nobody’s business! Regardless of the size of your budget, the urgency of your deadline, or the exactitude of your Mandarin and Taiwanese linguistic standards, GoLocalise can deliver!
We hope that this blog post about the Taiwanese Language was helpful!