Well, I assume you are referring to Mandarin Chinese -
Written: There's two sets of written Chinese currently in use: simplified and traditional. You can't necessarily know the exact pronunciation of a word like you do in English if you haven't seen it before.
Spoken: Chinese has 4 tones (5 with neutral tone) as it's a tonal language. You don't indicate the tones in the hanzi, just the pinyin (which aides in pronunciation).
I hope this answers your question.