Friday, September 18, 2009

China: Language Barriers

Doing business in China comes with both great opportunities and great challenges. If you do not speak Chinese, overcoming the language barrier will be one of the biggest challenges you will face.

For people accustomed only to Western languages, Chinese proves to be an exceptionally difficult language to learn. Even if you believe that you can learn quickly, you should be advised that the Chinese language is very different from English.

The most obvious difference is that Chinese words are not constructed with alphabets and character construction follows a completely different set of rules.

Chinese and English grammar is also very different. For example, if you directly translate the expression "I will go shopping tomorrow" from Chinese to English, you will get something like this: "I tomorrow go shopping." If you want to learn Chinese, find a good Chinese tutor or enroll in a program.

In the mean time, you must find a good interpreter. The problem is that it is very difficult to find really good interpreters in China since there aren't many Chinese nationals who are fluent in English.

China is a country with one office language, Chinese or "Han Yu", but with thousands of local dialects. If you randomly pick 100 people from 100 different parts of China and put them in a room, chances are that many of them will not understand each other's local dialect.

Check out the video below. Even if you cant learn Chinese this will help you be able to buy tea and coffee!

Do you know another language other than your native language? What were the hardest and easiest things to learn? Did you find any resources that were very useful?

1 comment:

  1. Chinese culture is definitely very interesting but at the same time rare enough.