Chinese and English are the official languages of Hong Kong. It is the
Government's policy to develop and maintain a civil service that is proficient in both
written Chinese and English and conversant in Cantonese, Putonghua and spoken
English. While major documents of public interest issued by the Government are
available in both languages, correspondence with individual members of the public is
always in the language appropriate to the recipient.
The Official Languages Division of the Civil Service Bureau monitors the
implementation of the Government's language policy in the civil service. It offers a
wide range of language support services to government bureaux and departments.
Besides providing translation, interpretation, drafting and editing services, the division
also facilitates the effective use of official languages in the civil service by providing it
with language research and advisory support. This includes the provision of a
telephone hotline for answering questions on language use; compilation of writing
aids and reference materials, such as guidebooks on official Chinese writing and
English-Chinese glossaries of terms commonly used in government departments; and
the holding of language-related activities such as seminars and competitions.
Furthermore, a quarterly publication on language and culture, entitled Word Power is
distributed to all departments. Some of the publications and reference materials
produced by the division can be found on the Civil Service Bureau website