How To Read Chinese Characters

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How To Read Chinese Characters
How To Read Chinese Characters
Video: How To Read Chinese Characters
Video: Learn Chinese Characters_Course Level 1_Lesson 01: The Knowledge & Practice of 8 Characters 2023, February

Interest in Chinese characters has spread throughout the world: many Europeans get tattoos in the form of the Chinese word, it is fashionable to wear T-shirts with hieroglyphic prints, gifts such as souvenirs and pictures with wishes of happiness and well-being in this language are common. Unfortunately, some people do not even know what is written on their T-shirt or what expression flaunts on a souvenir. If a word from the European language can be easily translated using a dictionary, then it is not so easy to read a hieroglyph.

How to read Chinese characters
How to read Chinese characters


  • the Internet;
  • Chinese-Russian dictionary.


Step 1

The main difference between Chinese characters and Russian or any other letters is the lack of a connection between writing and reading. Each letter in our alphabet has its own pronunciation rules, having learned which, a person can read a text consisting of only 33 letters. There are tens of thousands of hieroglyphs in the Chinese language, and it is impossible to recognize their reading by the way they are written. Therefore, even the Chinese, encountering an unfamiliar word in the text, cannot pronounce it until they look into the dictionary.

Step 2

If the hieroglyphs, phrase or sentence in Chinese you need exists in electronic form, open Google translator, set it up to translate from Chinese into Russian and paste them into the line to find out the meaning. If you are interested in how to pronounce these hieroglyphs, find a Chinese-Russian dictionary on the Internet (the dictionary is very convenient - it has a large base of hieroglyphs). Insert them into the line - along with the translation, the reading written in Latin letters will be shown. It is a pinyin alphabet designed for foreigners learning Chinese. Any European will be able to read words written in this way, making only a few mistakes - the alphabet has some reading features that go through when learning this language

Step 3

It is more difficult to read Chinese characters, which are presented in the form of a picture: on a mug, T-shirt, tea set or other souvenirs, as well as in the form of a calligraphic drawing on an electronic medium. First of all, you need to know that in modern Chinese, hieroglyphs are written and read from left to right, horizontally, like Europeans. Old inscriptions (poems of ancient poets, old manuscripts) can be written from right to left and from top to bottom. Remember also that one hieroglyph represents one word, one meaning, so enter them into the dictionaries one at a time (as shown below).

Step 4

Search the Internet for a Chinese-Russian dictionary with manual input (, Manual (or handwritten) input means that you can draw a character with the mouse in a special field. The program will recognize it, compare it with those in the dictionary database and give the result - reading and translation. When entering a hieroglyph in a special field, follow the rules of Chinese calligraphy: write from top to bottom and left to right, divide the hieroglyph into lines, each of which is written without lifting your hands. Try to reproduce the image as accurately as possible. The program will offer several hieroglyphs to choose from, click on the appropriate one. Some dictionary programs or special text recognizers also have handwriting input. This option is suitable for those who often have to search for hieroglyphs

Step 5

If for some reason manual input is not available, or the program cannot recognize the hieroglyph you have drawn, find a regular dictionary - the Great Chinese-Russian Dictionary of Kotov or Mudrov. When searching in the first dictionary, you need to count the number of strokes in the hieroglyph and highlight the first two strokes (upper left). At the end of the dictionary, open the page indicating the required number of lines, find your hieroglyph by the first two lines. On the contrary, it will indicate the reading in Latin (pinyin alphabet), use it to find the hieroglyph in the dictionary - they are listed in alphabetical order.In Mudrov's dictionary, the search is organized the other way around, along the last line.

Step 6

If you could not read the Chinese character using dictionaries, search the Internet for lists with popular characters - for example, auspicious characters on the website If your hieroglyph is written on a souvenir as a wish, there is a high probability that you will find it on such a list.

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