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Convert between simplified and traditional Chinese

This tool converts simplified Chinese to traditional Chinese and vice versa. Type your text below and click the convert button, your input will then be converted to both simplified and traditional Chinese. Converting does not change any formatting or line breaks. You can convert as much text as you want, there is no maximum input length.

Your input as simplified Chinese (简体字)

Simplified Chinese
Your input as traditional Chinese (繁体字)

Traditional Chinese

What is simplified and traditional Chinese?

Simplified Chinese is the standard set of Chinese characters used in mainland China. They were officially promoted by the Chinese government in the 1950s and 1960s. Traditional characters were used prior to the 1950s. Simplified Chinese used the traditional characters as a base, and then made many characters easier to write. The main motivation behind the switch to simplified characters was that simplified characters would be easier to learn, and thus would increase literacy in China.

Simplified Chinese is officially used in mainland China, Singapore, and Malaysia. Not all Chinese-speaking regions have switched to using simplified characters. Traditional Chinese characters are still primarily used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.

How characters were simplified

Traditional characters were simplified in a number of ways. Some common components were replaced with a component with fewer strokes. For example, the component 言 that uses 7 strokes was replaced with 讠, which only uses 2. This reduces the number of strokes in a word like 說話/说话 from 27 to 17.

Some characters that have the same sound were merged into a single character. For example, the characters 乾 and 幹 were both simplified to 干, and 發 and 髮 were both simplified to 发.

Some characters were simplified to an already existing character. For example, 後 was simplified to 后, which was already a character in the word 皇后 (queen).

Some characters were simplified by omitting entire parts of the character. For example, 廠 was simplified to 厂, 飛 was simplified to 飞, and 開 was simplified to 开.

Some characters were replaced with a different, but easier character. These characters are significantly easier to write in their simplified form. For example, 幾 was simplified to 几, and 義 was simplified to 义.

The methods described above are just a few of the ways traditional characters were simplified. If you'd like to learn more, you can read about the methods of simplification on Wikipedia .

Challenges when converting between simplified and traditional

Converting between simplified and traditional isn't just replacing characters one by one. Some traditional characters were simplified into a single character. This makes converting from simplified to traditional tricky. Character can't simply be swapped out, their context has to be taken into account. For example, consider these characters:

English Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Pinyin
to send (out)
hairstyle 髮型 发型 xíng
clean 乾淨 干净 gānjìng
work hard 苦幹 苦干 gàn

As you can see, always converting 发 to 發, or 干 to 乾 wouldn't work. But matching and converting word by word also doesn't always work. A word like 乾淨 can be reduplicated (乾乾淨淨), or separated (不乾不淨).

In summary: converting from traditional to simplified will usually work without any mistakes. Converting from simplified to traditional is tricky, and can contain some mistakes.

Another round of simplification

Did you know that in the late 1970's the Chinese government worked on another round of simplification? This plan was so unpopular that it was scrapped in 1986.

Some second-round simplified characters are still used in informal contexts. For example, you might see 鸡旦 being used instead of the normal form 鸡蛋. Some parking lots have a sign saying 仃车, instead of normal form 停车.

Converting in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint

A built-in function in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint that converts between simplified and traditional Chinese

If you use Microsoft Word or PowerPoint you can use a built-in function to convert between simplified and traditional characters. This is easier than using the tool on this page, and having to copy-paste your text. In Word or PowerPoint, if you have the "Chinese editing Language Pack" installed, you can find a "Chinese Conversion" button in the menubar under "Review". This allows you to convert between traditional and simplified Chinese without having to leave Word or PowerPoint.