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Hello China!

Sarah Graveling
Sarah Graveling
Creative Director
5 March 2008

We’ve recently opened an office in Shanghai and are in the process of introducing Chinese translations to our branding, website etc. I wanted to do some research first to get some tips on how we should approach this.

Fonts

Ideally you should not have more than 30 characters on one line.

There are three traditional Chinese typefaces Song, Kai and Li. Studies on the legibility of the Chinese language online aren’t common, but one study recommended the use of Song and Kai, rather than Li.

HTML: Charset Code

The character set for Simplified Chinese is GB2312 while that for Traditional Chinese Big5

HTML: Page titles

A lot of browsers will not read page titles in Chinese, so write the titles in English and separate the symbols with a hyphen.

Help

Your website should include a guide on how to download the appropriate software in order to view the site in Chinese. This should be written in HTML English and an image/PDF written in Chinese.

Text as images

Some sites show important information as an image on their site in case of software problems. However, the obvious pit falls are that the user cannot increase the size of the font with an image or copy and paste text. So a PDF may be better.

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