Business in China – getting the language right

As China has a thriving and growing economy, which is particularly tech savvy, it’s no surprise that a lot of businesses are looking to build their presence in the country. Smart Insights recently wrote an article about the latest marketing trends in China and how to build trust when doing business there.

The common thread between all the examples of successful businesses in the article is that they have strategies which appeal specifically to Chinese culture. At The Language Factory, we know only too well that the best way to gain these cultural insights is through carefully considered market research. If you’re conducting business or market research in China you will want to make sure that you are communicating appropriately with your audience in Chinese.

Market research translation for China

As with all international market research, it’s vital to obtain translations of market research surveys, responses and verbatim coding in order to get quality insights that will help drive your business forward. This is particularly important when conducting research in China as their use of language is very different to here in the UK.

In China, the official language is Standard Chinese, the most widely-used spoken version of which is Mandarin, whilst the written form is Simplified Chinese. Other Chinese-speaking areas use different versions. In Hong Kong, Cantonese is spoken and traditional characters are used. In Taiwan, a number of languages are spoken, the main one being Mandarin as spoken on the Chinese mainland, but using the same traditional characters as Hong Kong.

As well as using characters, instead of a European alphabet, the form of written and spoken Chinese changes depending on a variety of things, such as where you are and who you’re talking to.

Question tone

There are various levels of tone and formality depending on your audience in China and offense can easily be taken if the wrong one is used. Cultural sensitivity across Chinese-speaking areas should also be applied, to ensure you do not alienate your audience or use language or forms of address not suitable for each target market. For further reading, check out the related articles at the bottom of this post.

Quality Chinese translations

At The Language Factory we only ever use qualified, specialist, mother-tongue translators. On top of that, our translators must have at least five years’ experience in their chosen field, provide two references and pass our in-house test. They must also be a member of a recognised industry body, demonstrating their commitment to their craft and continued professional development.

This not only ensures that we can provide highly accurate translations for your specific field but also get first-hand knowledge from our translators as to the best form of Chinese to translate into. This gives you piece of mind that the final translation will be fit for purpose, in the most relevant form of Chinese and have the correct tone of voice for your audience.


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