Need a Chinese interpreter or translator? Many of our clients first approach the China Mix Ltd in order to find a Chinese interpreter or translator who can, for example, translate emails clearly. That is an important part of doing business in China with Chinese partners, suppliers or customers.

However, if you are just thinking in terms of interpretation or translation then you may be letting yourself in for problems. That’s because the culture of emails, business meetings, agreements and so on are not the same in China and the UK. For instance, British businesses take emails as very serious documents, but Chinese businesses tend not to take them seriously at all. Agreements to supply betas or prototypes often suffer from the same problems. British businesses expect an explicit agreement to be taken seriously and honoured, whereas Chinese businesses often agree to things provisionally in the expectation that the agreement will be revisited and renegotiated later on.

These kinds of misunderstandings can lead to problems and these problems can be magnified by the process of working in two languages using an interpreter or translator.

What we advise to avoid such problems is to rely on an intercultural business communication facilitator. The facilitator will work in English as much as possible, but will use their judgment and experience of British and Chinese business culture to put possible misunderstandings on the table so that they can be addressed openly by both sides of the UK-China partnership. Sometimes this may require some interaction with the Chinese parties in Mandarin in order for them to feel comfortable or to allow them to express themselves clearly. Sometimes they will feel more ready to speak frankly in Chinese to a fellow Chinese speaker. On other occasions it may be possible to carry out the whole exchange in English.

In the video, Baozhen explains how this can work using an example of a British client who thought they had arranged a firm deadline for delivery of a product, having been given verbal and written guarantees by the Chinese manufacturer. However, when Baozhen returned to the Chinese partner she established that they were not really intending to meet the deadline, but had agreed to it provisionally in order to allow the British side to feel they were making progress. Through the facilitation Baozhen provided, this situation was exposed and the British and Chinese business partners agreed a new and more realistic deadline.

Get in touch with The China Mix Ltd now to find out how we can help you communicate effectively with your Chinese partners and make your China venture flourish.