Blogs // Jun Gao

Breaking the ice and the barrier

Sprache

Doing business in China with some knowledge of Chinese is generally accepted as an important factor. The same principle applies to other emerging markets such as Russia and Brazil. One crucial element is how to engage a work with native speakers as colleagues and partners.

Let’s take doing business with China as an example. Many teaching materials including the project Chinese4EU encourage initiatives to acquire a basic knowledge of Chinese to facilitate activities in China, either for business or for pleasure. When passed the stage of ice breaking, it will be the moment to talk business. Entrepreneurs usually want to take the matters in their own hands by nature and are encouraged when they can communicate in English with the Chinese counterpart directly or through a translator. The fact that one or both parties are negotiating in a foreign language, could hide many sensitive aspects, such as degree of optimism to carrying out a contract, the real production capacity, possible financial difficulties. To gain information on or to discuss about these sensitive matters require a certain psychological comfort through discussion between native speakers. This situation occurs not only when dealing with China, but also with Russia and, in a certain degree with Brazil as well. This is an awkward moment when a foreign businessman suddenly becomes an outsider waiting for the end of a conversation between his translator or partner and his business counterpart. It takes trust and patience to go through these moments.

Now, the question is: can we do something about these moments and make the business contacts more efficient? The answer could be found in a thoughtful preparation before the contacts: a short linguistic training with passive knowledge of jargons of the target language, and most importantly, combined with a preparation about the business culture and specific sensibilities of a particular sector.

Letzte Kommentare

  • Raimo Pullat
    10.06.2013 16:09
    Thanks for very important information.

Jun Gao

Jun Gao is researcher for Chinese for European Project in Belgium working from Antwerp Management School, University of Antwerp. He is also a senior consultant for investment project between China andWest-Europe.

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