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Helping you to develop your business with China
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What our clients say...

Do I need an Interpreter?

Even though Chinese business people increasingly speak English these days, we recommend working through interpreters for meetings and negotiations. This is because:
XYZ Communications recommends the following tips when working with interpreters:
Do:
Don’t:
  • Senior decision makers often do not speak English and, even when they do, they prefer to make important business decisions in Chinese to avoid costly mistakes.
  • Chinese companies usually use the junior staff as interpreters. Their business experience and English skills will affect the success of your meeting.
  • Using interpreters can buy you time in meetings, allowing you to consider what has been said and formulate an appropriate response.
  • Using your own interpreters gives you the chance to brief them on your objectives in advance and gain an extra pair of ‘eyes and ears’. Often, vital information is revealed in discussions among the Chinese delegates. Your own interpreters will be able to feed this back to you.
  • Good interpreters can also help you build a rapport with the Chinese company. They can steer the conversation in a constructive manner and identify any concerns that the Chinese party have, allowing you to address the relevant issues.
  • brief them on your objectives in advance;
  • speak clearly with a calm pace;
  • look at the person you are addressing;
  • pause regularly to allow the interpreters to catch up;
  • write down and display important numbers as you speak.
  • assume that people do not speak English;
  • assume that nodding means they understood you;
  • use jargon or slang;
  • look at the interpreter when your point is directed at your Chinese counterparts.
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