Given the same exact text in English and Chinese, which would take less time to read?

It depends on the reader, not the text.

As Fionna said, Chinese and English are read differently by native readers.

In languages using the latin alphabet, you must read linearly to first understand words, then sentences and finally a text.  Reading Chinese is less linear. Words are a combination of images that form the text. You can skip to only proeminent characters in the picture.

Chinese ancient poetry works like a big picture made of many strokes. The reading goes in many directions to provide a combination of meanings. European traditional poetry is about rythm, time, sequence of sounds. It is usually written to be read from start to end.   So to answer you question : native readers will instinctively pick the appropriate way to read through a text and therefore may read faster - which means read AND properly understand.

For instance, Chinese people may be slower while reading English because they have to be careful not to miss important words. English people will be slown down in reading Chinese texts because they are looking at a lot of useless words instead of seeking only the important ones.

IMHO this is something very hard to learn/unlearn.

This text was originally published in quora.

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