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What Does a Chinese Keyboard Look Like?

Using a computer should come quite easy and simple for people who know English. However, there are countries such as China and Japan, wherein they have a huge number of educated people, and almost every one of them uses a computer, but only a few of them know English. Using a regular keyboard may perhaps be quite impossible in such a situation. Chinese people thus use Chinese keyboards, and it may be interesting to find out what does a Chinese keyboard look like. 


What Does a Chinese Keyboard Look Like?


In fact, a Chinese keyboard does look exactly like any other keyboard used in the US. You simply make use of the Latin keyboard to phonetize the Chinese characters. The doubts created in the minds of people in trying to find Chinese computer keyboards looking different is because of a considerable number of characters found in the Chinese language. 

Chinese keyboards do look exactly the same as the current set of keyboards that we use in almost every part of the world. It simply has a regional language to include Chinese. You can simply type in the Pinyin, and the word is simply converted into the corresponding Chinese character. 


What are the Complications that the Chinese Language Can Have With Respect to the Keyboards?


The Chinese language does come with a huge number of characters. The amount of words and symbols that the language has been one of the most important impediments in using a traditional keyboard with the Chinese language. 

The English language is not as complicated as Chinese. There are hardly a few letters in the English language that tend to have a huge number of keystrokes. English characters can have a maximum of three to four strokes per letter. However, in the case of the Chinese language, a single letter or character can have as many as 57 strokes! 

Looking at the above character should make it evident that printing that character on a keyboard may not be much simple and easy to go with. 


How Many Characters Does the Chinese Language Have?


The Chinese language is unique in every right. It is so expressive and vast that you would perhaps not be able to compare it to other languages across the world. The language solely depends on the symbols, and that is what makes it completely different from other languages from around the world. 

The characters in the Chinese language are so different, and in fact, a single character will represent an entire word, or in some instances, an entire sentence! However, that is precisely what makes the Chinese language extremely expressive in nature. For instance, we combine the letters C, A, and T to spell a CAT; the Chinese language use a symbol of a cat. 

See the image below:

The Chinese language has over 56000 characters. If you look at the regional differences, the number would further increase. To understand the language to a considerable extent, you need to learn around 3000 to 4000 characters. That would be ideally equivalent to learning 4000 words. 


How Many Keys Does a Chinese Keyboards Layout Have?


That brings us back to what we already mentioned above. The Chinese keyboards layout is precisely the same as in the case of our standard keyboard. This is because most Chinese people use the identical QWERTY keyboards that we usually use. 

The Chinese computer users rely upon the same 26 character keyboard that we all use. Having to use a keyboard with the 26 alphabets and trying to use it for thousands of characters or symbols is definitely a daunting task. 


How Do Chinese Keyboards Work?


The Chinese keyboards rely upon the English alphabets, and that is precisely why it takes a lot of work in a  behind the scenes way. There are several methods used for converting the English characters into the Chinese characters. 

In some instances, touch typing is used for drawing the character on the screen. That can perhaps have specific issues. In fact, in most of the cases, the keyboard creates the strokes, and the computer software converts them into the letters or characters. The Chinese keyboards use three major software solutions to help write the Chinese characters viz Pinyin, Wubi, and Zhuyin. 

The significant features of each of the methods can be summarised as here:

Pinyin Wubi Zhuyin
Qwerty Keyboard Qwerty Keyboard Ancient letter/symbol
Most common Fairly Common Very Niche (Taiwan)
very slow Faster but still slow Slow
Hard for some to do Steep learning curve Very hard to use

Pinyin 

Pinyin is the most widely used means for typing the Chinese characters on your computers. It should work best if you have decent English knowledge. It simply types the characters based on the phonetics. 

When you type in a word, the computer offers you suggestions on what you would have meant. Then, you can simply choose the one that best meets your needs. It can be a little difficult as you may or may not be able to spell a word or sentence phonetically. 

Wubi

Wubi is yet another popular software used for typing Chinese characters. It simply makes use of the Qwerty layout with a few changes. 

The Wubi method divides the keyboard into five parts. Each of the five parts has its own shorthand so that you would be able to type faster. The Wubi method makes use of a few extra markings on the keys to indicate specific strokes. The technique has been considered to be a faster one when compared to the Pinyin method. 

Zhuyin

Zhuyin is a method that is quite sparingly used for typing your Chinese characters. The technique is used most widely in Taiwan. The technique makes use of the old Chinese characters. The symbols can be used to create unique words and sentences. 

The Zhuyin method is based on the phonetic Mandarin and makes use of the sounds rather than spelling. Unfortunately, this method has been the least efficient and relatively more complicated. 

Want to know how do the Chinese type? This video should give you an idea, or perhaps confuse you further 


So, What Does a Chinese Keyboard Look Like?


Like we have repeatedly been stating all through this post, there is no specific Chinese keyboard available. There is no standardized Chinese keyboard, and it may not be possible to develop one. More so, given the fact that the Chinese language has over thousands of characters. 

If you are looking for an exact Chinese keyboard, you will find different variations across Hong Kong, Mainland China, or Taiwan. But, you do not really need a Chinese keyboard for typing in Chinese. Instead, you can use a traditional keyboard and make use of the options, such as different Chinese input methods. 

You will find most of the operating systems providing support for the Chinese characters, and a few of them even provide you access to an onscreen keyboard option as well. So, if you are trying to relocate to China and wondering how would a Chinese keyboard look like, there is nothing you need to worry about. 

About the author

Atish Ranjan

Atish Ranjan is a blogger who has been publishing on the web for more than a decade. He shares his knowledge and expertise in the form of Text and Video Content.

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