As I was driving into my Toronto office space this morning, I heard a radio announcer trying to say Kung hei fat choi, but his pronunciation sounded a little off, it sounded like he was saying “Gung Hei Fat Choy “. So I asked one of the Mandarin speaking office space Toronto clients what the proper pronunciation was. He told me that neither was the Mandarin way of saying Happy New Year (not an exact translation). It seems that  “Xin Nien Kwai Le” is the Mandarin way. He went on to tell me that his wife is from the Philipines and her family is from the Fujian province of China, where they speak a Chinese-Filipinos dialect called Hokkien. The Chinese-Filipinos say Kiong Hee Huat Tsai.

He also informed me that much to many North Americans’ dismay, Kung hei fat choi (in Cantonese), Xin Nien Kwai Le (in Mandarin), and Kiong Hee Huat Tsai (in Hokkien [Chinese-Filipinos dialect from Fujian province]), do not mean “Happy New Year”. But instead, they all refer to the same set of 4 Chinese characters (农历新年) that literally means “Congratulations and wishing you prosperity!”

The client had to leave for a meeting, so our conversation was left at that. I decided to do some more research. I found out that Cantonese is one of the 9 other groups of dialects in China and is most commonly spoken in Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macau, but Mandarin is the most largely spoken dialect in mainland China. What was more interesting is that regardless of the dialect spoken there are two written forms of Chinese – Traditional and Simplified characters.

This got me to thinking, how would one say office space Toronto in Chinese? So, I turned to the internet to find some answers. As it turns out, Simplified Chinese characters were more commonly used in business on the Internet. A quick translation from Google let me know that “office space Toronto” translated to 多伦多办公室空间 in simplified Chinese characters.

When I mentioned the research I had done to one of the Telsec staff, she told me that Telsec actually had a few Toronto virtual office clients that were located in Hong Kong. So I went back to Google to find out what the simplified Chinese characters were for virtual office Toronto. I found out that the translation was多伦多的虚拟办公室.This did not look the same as my previous translation, so I tried translating Toronto virtual office and found that the Simplified Chinese characters 多伦多 turned out to be Toronto.  Regardless of the order I asked for the words to translate, Toronto seemed to be the first. I had to find out more, so I asked Google to translate “downtown Toronto office space” and got 多伦多市中心的办公空间 , the characters多伦多 were still the leading characters. One last experiment, what if I left off the capital letter T in Toronto?  Turns out is still put those same three characters at the beginning.