Expert Chinese Translation & Interpretation For Global Businesses
Over the years, we have built up a network of over 9000 mother-tongue linguists who can use their sector-specific knowledge to provide Chinese translation services to companies across all industries.
Our fluent team of Chinese translators have at least three years’ experience working as translators, gaining an in-depth understanding of its linguistic and cultural nuances. Global Voices goes out of its way to hire only the highest quality linguists, who will exceed any expectations you may have of our Chinese translation services, as well as the requirements for ISO 9001:2008.
All Chinese translation projects, no matter the size or sector, are handled by friendly project managers, who provide support at all stages of each project. To discuss more about our services, contact us today.
Why your business needs a Chinese translation service
Whether it’s Mandarin, Cantonese or any of the other 198 spoken dialects in the language, Chinese translation can help bring your business to a billion-strong new audience and client base.
Chinese is frequently touted as the most important business language, and our Chinese translation services can take your business to audiences and customers in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan, as well as the mainland. We also offer desktop publishing as an integral part of our Chinese translation services, not only keeping translations precise, but the layout of your documents as well.
Chinese Cultural Considerations
What are other cultural facts about China? How to interact with a Chinese-speaking person? This is what you should know about Chinese culture.
China is a multi-religious country. There are four major religions in the country: Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, and Islam. A study carried out by the China Family Panel Studies in 2014 revealed that 98% of the Chinese population are Buddhist. However, with religion and philosophy often intertwined, many citizens practise some religious rituals but do not classify themselves as religious. Chinese folk religion, for example, is the most common system of beliefs and practices, believing in deities, salvation, ancestral principles, culture heroes, and mythology.
Traditions, musts and must nots
China is well known for being the world’s fastest-growing economy. It also is famous for its cuisine, martial arts, fashion, calligraphy, architecture, traditions, and zodiac, amongst many other astonishing characteristics. Chinese etiquette and customs are very different compared to those in Western cultures. When interacting with Chinese-speaking people, other things to take into consideration are as follows:
- Greetings – It is common to shake hands upon meeting. Although some may nod or bow, this is more common in Japan or Korea. Do not offer a too-firm handshake or go straight for a hug. When being introduced to a group of people, they may greet with applause, to which you should applaud back. Additionally, do greet and address the elderly before others, according to their seniority.
- Addressing the Chinese – Chinese names generally consist of a family name, followed by a given name. When greeting someone, it is recommended to address them by their title and family name, unless invited not to. If unsure about titles, you can use 先生 (“xiānshēng”, which equals to Mr.)，小姐(“xiǎojiě”, which equals to Miss) or 女士 (“nǚshì”, which means Madam) instead. When introducing yourself in a business setting, you should use your title, full name, job title, and company name.
- Body language – Body language and posture are quite important in this culture. As they are formal, controlled, and calm, you should stay attentive, respectful, and calm when doing business. Pay attention to your hand gestures, as biting your nails, putting your hands on your mouth, or clicking your fingers is considered rude. Never point with your index finger, but with an open hand, or put your feet on the desk or chair. In Chinese culture, ‘face’ refers to the dignity of an individual. “Saving face” means to keep someone else from losing respect for you. In business settings, Chinese people may not show surprise or not bluntly say “No” to save face.
- Communication – The Chinese are careful with negative statements, as they may not say “no” themselves. Instead, use alternatives such as “We will see” or “Maybe”. Small talk is common and important, so they may ask if you have eaten or where have you been.
- Business meetings – Be prepared, punctual, and respectful. Dress appropriately to show respect, most commonly always wearing a suit and dark colours. Punctuality is very important in Chinese culture, arrive in time or early to avoid coming across as rude and offensive. When entering a room, the Chinese usually enter in hierarchical order, so it is recommended to know this in advance. Additionally, stay composed and be well prepared. When the meeting is finished, you will be expected to leave before the Chinese hosts. Exchanging business cards is common, so bring plenty and make sure you hand them using two hands.
- Mealtimes and table manners – During mealtimes, there is a protocol to follow, and senior people are expected to seat first, so it is recommended to wait for the Chinese to show you your seat. Do not start eating before others, especially seniors. Leaving an empty dish may mean you are still hungry, so avoid finishing all your food. Do not worry, during a meal, 20 to 30 courses can be served. Contrary to other cultures, slurping and belching mean one is enjoying the food. When it comes to table manners, do not stick the chopsticks into the bowl as this is reserved for funerals, or tap your bowl with them, as this is related to begging.
- Avoiding certain topics – Try to avoid sensitive topics such as political-related discussions, human rights, and animal treatment. Instead, discussions about art, geography, landmarks, and anything related to Chinese culture will be welcomed.
What’s the difference between Chinese, Cantonese, and Mandarin?
Both Cantonese and Mandarin are forms of Chinese, as Chinese is an umbrella language.
The main difference between Cantonese and Mandarin is the location where they are spoken. China has many different dialects, and both Mandarin and Cantonese are dialects of Chinese, not different languages. Mandarin is the ‘standardised’ form of Chinese, as it is the official language of both China and Taiwan, whilst Cantonese is one of the many other minority dialects of Chinese, commonly spoken in Hong Kong and Macau.
Both languages are tonal languages, where words can have different meanings depending on the pronunciation. However, Cantonese has six different tones, whilst Mandarin has just four tones per sound.
Both Mandarin and Cantonese use the same characters, but their pronunciation is completely different. Mandarin speakers write as they speak, whilst Cantonese speakers do not transcribe their spoken language into words, as they are pronounced differently.
This disparity can make Cantonese more complex to both speak and write. Additionally, Mandarin now uses simplified characters, rather than the traditional ones that Cantonese uses.
We are committed to providing a consistently high level of quality in all our customer engagements. Our staff members follow well-established business processes so we can communicate clearly, deliver on time and exceed our customers’ expectations.