What are simplified Chinese characters?

Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters prescribed for use in mainland China. The government of the People's Republic of China in mainland China has promoted them for use in printing since the 1950s and 1960s in an attempt to increase literacy. They are officially used in the People's Republic of China as well as Singapore.

Simplified character forms were created by decreasing the number of strokes and simplifying the forms of a sizable proportion of traditional Chinese characters. Some simplifications were based on popular cursive forms embodying graphic or phonetic simplifications of the traditional forms. Some characters were simplified by applying regular rules, for example, by replacing all occurrences of a certain component with a simplified version of the component. Variant characters with the same pronunciation and identical meaning were reduced to a single standardized character. Nevertheless, many characters were left untouched by simplification, and are thus identical between the traditional and simplified Chinese orthographies.

What are traditional Chinese characters?

Traditional Chinese characters are currently used in Hong Kong, Macau, and the Republic of China (Taiwan). While traditional characters can still be read and understood by many mainland Chinese and the Chinese community in Malaysia and Singapore, these groups generally retain their use of Simplified characters. Overseas Chinese communities generally tend to use traditional characters.

Traditional Chinese characters do not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. The modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, and have been more or less stable since the 5th century (during the Southern and Northern Dynasties.)

Some examples of simplified characters and their traditional versions:

爱 / 愛 ài / to love / affection /
编 / 編 biān / weave / plait / compose / fabricate /
标 / 標 biāo / surface / sign / to mark / prize / award / bid /
厕 / 廁 cè / rest-room / toilet / lavatory /
长 / 長 cháng / length / long / forever / always zhǎng / chief / head / elder / to grow / to develop /
场 / 場 chǎng / a courtyard / open space / place / field /
车 / 車 chē / car / a vehicle /
处 / 處 chǔ / to reside / to dwell / to be in / deal with / chù / a place / location /
词 / 詞 cí / works / phrases / classical Chinese poem / word / diction /
聪 / 聰 cōng / quick at hearing / wise / clever / sharp-witted / intelligent /
从 / 從 cōng / lax / yielding / unhurried / cóng / from / obey / observe / follow /
灯 / 燈 dēng / lamp / light /