Translating Chinese Social Media

June 30, 2016 |

By Sarah-Claire Jordan

Translating Chinese Social Media artChina has been the largest country in terms of population for a long time now, and shows no sign of slowing down in that sector. With so many people living in a country that excels in technology and manufacturing, it just makes sense that a large majority of the population would be connected and active on all kinds of social media platforms.

This means that any businesses looking to make a breakthrough in China needs to know how to play the social media game there, which would include working with translation and localization companies that can advise them and guide them through the process of becoming a successful business in China.

The situation in China regarding social media and its popularity doesn’t come without its own rules and guidelines, however. For starters, the social media platforms popular in the U.S. and other countries are not that popular among Chinese citizens. Simply taking your company’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. accounts and making Chinese versions of them won’t cut it. RenRen, WeChat, and Sina Weibo are the hard-hitters in China, with RenRen loosely corresponding to Facebook, Sina Weibo to Twitter, and Wechat being a mostly chat-based social media platform.

Now that you know which social media platforms to use, make sure you verify your account as hacking is rampant on Chinese social media sites. Once that is done, make sure you know what kind of content to share with your followers and how often to share it. The “quality not quantity” rule is important here, as more posts will not necessarily get you more likes. If you post less and engage more in the comments section, however, you may see your number of followers growing and the overall popularity of your business increasing.

As far as content goes, topics that are perfect for a U.S. audience might not go over so well in China. Keep in mind that the hand of censorship is heavy there, so anything related to society, politics, or current events should be avoided. Light, fluffy content, especially jokes and dating advice, are perfect for a Chinese audience. Videos are great content to share as well, and they don’t even have to be short, as attention spans tend to be longer in China. Games that are sponsored by your company somehow are perfect hooks as well, since gaming is much more predominant in Chinese social media.

Once you have figured out what kind of content you want to share, it is time to figure out how to talk about it on the various social media platforms. In general, you will be choosing between Mandarin or Standard Chinese and Cantonese. If you are targeting a mainland audience, go with Mandarin or a local/regional language. If you are looking to get followers from Hong Kong, Cantonese is your best bet. Since each individual Chinese character can transmit a lot of information, you will have the freedom to say more with the same amount of characters. Take advantage of this to help your business develop a following and customer base in China.

For an overview of Alpha Omega Translations’ expertise, visit our media and marketing translation page.

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Category: Foreign Language

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