Regarding the listing of audio/subs for Chinese languages

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Regarding the listing of audio/subs for Chinese languages

Postby James-Masaki_Ryan » 16 Jan 2021 01:09

There are many languages and dialects within the Chinese language family, but when encoding on DVDs and Blu-rays, the audio and subtitle streams only display a generic "Chinese" which makes things difficult to decipher which type of Chinese is used unless you have basic Chinese knowledge. Cantonese, Hokkien, Mandarin, Wu, etc. are a few of many that might be encountered with spoken languages. For the most part, the type of Chinese used might be written in the corresponding language on the menu screens.

For mainland China since the cultural revolution, a simplified form of Chinese has been used for writing purposes for Mandarin, the standard spoken language.
For Hong Kong/Guangzhou, traditional Chinese characters are used for writing purposes for the Cantonese spoken language.
For Taiwan, traditional Chinese characters are used for writing purposes for the Mandarin spoken language.

While Mandarin is both spoken in mainland China and Taiwan, there are some differences like there are between US and UK English for example.
For writing they use different forms of writing and are not mutually intelligible.

Cantonese and Mandarin in Taiwan both use traditional Chinese. While they use the same letters, phrases written in Mandarin are not completely understandable by Cantonese speakers. Similar to how many European languages use the Roman alphabet, the letters are the same but are not the same languages. An English speaker might look at a French sentence and not understand it, but there might be some similar words they could understand.

On menus, they might be written as follows for spoken languages:
粤語 = Cantonese
國語 = Mandarin

For subtitles they might be written as follows for subtitles:
粤語字幕 = Cantonese
简体中文 = Mandarin (Simplified)
繁體中文 = Mandarin (Traditional)

Depending on companies (Warner, Fox, Universal, etc), there might be some variation on how the languages are written in the menus, for example they might write 台湾 = Taiwan and 香港 =Hong Kong to differentiate the traditional subtitle options. Other times it might be just a generic "中文" which is just "Chinese".

If the menus clearly state the audio is Cantonese, Mandarin (or other), and if the subtitles are Cantonese, Mandarin (Simplified), or Mandarin (Traditional), please list them out that way.
If the menus are not clear on which subtitle is used (Sony often just states "Chinese", for example), then please just write "Chinese".

If you are not sure what the writing says, please post a screenshot and I can most likely decipher it.
James-Masaki_Ryan
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