How to Type in Chinese on Your Smartphone

how to type in chinese on android
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Chinese Language

The Chinese language has more than 50,000 characters, and we’re not even talking about the different dialects that make up this vast country!

While most people who want to learn Chinese simply pick up a textbook and start memorizing as many characters as possible, many tools are available to help you type in Chinese on your smartphone or tablet device.

This blog post explores your options and offers tips on using these tools effectively.

type chinese in phone
smartphone and chinese

Alternative Input Methods

The Chinese language is still one of the most widely used written languages. If you’re a non-Chinese speaker and trying to type Chinese characters on your smartphone, there are a few different ways to go about it. Unfortunately, entering Chinese characters from an English keyboard takes some practice—it’s not as simple as pressing shift or 3′′ like you would for English words.

One option is to download and install Chinese input software to type Chinese characters by drawing them out with your finger. You can also use Google Translate and Microsoft Translator apps, which allow users to draw Chinese character with their fingers or voice-to-text software if you want more precise control over how your character looks.

It’s important to note that many people find these Chinese input method tedious and inaccurate compared with other input methods available. However, if you don’t mind spending a little extra time typing out each of the Chinese character, either of these options could be helpful for quick text messages or emails when you’re away from home without access to a physical keyboard.

The iOS Keyboard

The Chinese keyboard is built into iOS so that you can use it for free. To set it up, go to Settings > General > Keyboards and add a Chinese keyboard (see screenshot). Turn off Show Keyboard & Character Viewer in Spotlight Search so that there are no extra characters when you’re searching for something.

If you don’t see Chinese as an option, make sure your mobile device has been updated to iOS 8 or later. It also helps if your iPhone is unlocked—you can do that by going to Settings > General > Language & Region and tapping Language. Change your region to China or Hong Kong and tap Done twice.

how to type in chinese on smartphone
phonese and chinese language

The Android Keyboard

If you have an Android device, Google’s keyboard will let you type Chinese by tapping or tracing each character. Select Chinese from your language options. You can choose between traditional Chinese characters, Simplified Chinese characters, Pinyin input method a phonetic method, and Zhuyin fuhao, a non-phonetic romanization method used primarily in Taiwan.

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Third-Party Keyboards

Several third-party keyboard apps are available that allow you to type Chinese. Choose whether you want to type in simplified or traditional characters. Consider how different keyboard features can help you with your Chinese learning. Perhaps one of the best is Google Pinyin IME, which you can use for Chinese and various other languages (such as Japanese). It includes both simplified and traditional Chinese characters. The Pinyin input method gives an extensive English input and Chinese gesture input.  You can download it for free from Google Play.

You can also write by hand, for that many handwriting keyboards are available too. Imagine just handwriting that strange hanzi on the package into an app and quickly learning it. That’s what Chinese handwriting input software can do! Qhanzi is considered precise, the most accurate, and simple to use the software. Draw any hanzi character and copy and paste it into a translator app or Chinese dictionary to find its pinyin and meaning. That’s it!

mobile phone and chinese

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