What is the best way of learning simplified characters after 3 years of studying traditional?


In preparation for leaving Taiwan I need to get to grips with simplified Chinese characters. Unfortunatly there is not much demand for traditional characters outside of Taiwan :frowning:

After 3 years of studying nothing but the traditional characters I am completely lost when it comes to simplified. If the characters are the same in both scripts I am ok, however anything else and I struggle.

Can anyone recommend the easiest way to learn simplified characters after studying traditional for so long? Should I buy one of those little books that are just full of characters from traditional - simplified? Should I use an anki deck? Should I study how the radicals have changed?

Any advice on what you found helpful would be appreciated.


No real answers but I just read a lot in simplified and it kind of clicked. Using bbc news sites in trad and simp helped, maybe. Making connections about how the radicals changed helps but it’s not really always that logical.

I used skritter but I let my subscription lapse because the writing thing got old and I was just using it as a flashcards thing.

I still see a lot and think ‘huh?’ though.

actually they didn’t change a lot going from traditional to simplified. If you have no trouble reading traditional, the switch to simplified would require less than 2 weeks of adjustment in terms of reading proficiency.

It would take a lot more time if you are aiming to do handwriting as well, but not many people need that skill. As for typing, there’s absolutely no new training required if your IME supports switching output to simplified.

For me what worked was try reading Simplified Chinese with aid. There is a tool called 新同文堂:
addons.mozilla.org/zh-tw/firefo … -wen-tang/

chrome.google.com/webstore/deta … g?hl=zh-TW

This is how I suggest using it for: get a article in Traditional Chinese, click on the 新同文堂 button to convert the article to Simplified and start reading. When you run into characters that makes no sense to you, click on the 新同文堂 button again to see how it is written originally. After a couple of hours, I think your brain can work out the connections.

The reason why I suggest going with article in Traditional Chinese first is that you will always get the correct Traditional -> Simplified conversion. But since the Traditional -> Simplified compression is a lossy one, Simplified -> Traditional conversion requires understanding context, which mean the computer will not always get it correctly (frankly vast majority of Chinese people can’t get it correctly either.)

This is how I got familiar with simplified characters, as for different word usage, you will have to go directly to Simplified Chinese sources to pick those up.