This seemingly perennial question of the real value of learning Chinese never fails to generate a lot of activity in LinkedIn discussions generic cialis. This discussion started in the China Law Blog LinkedIn group inspired me to share my views online pharmacy viagra.
Let's rephrase the question. Is it worth the five years of intense full time study to gain fluency cialis? In short, it depends on your situation and your goals viagra online.
Here is my longer answer generic viagra.
Each person must determine his/her own cost-benefit ratio for learning a new language, such as Chinese. Results will vary . Unlike the benefits of learning a truly international language such as English or even Spanish (with regard to South America and select areas in the southern United States), the overwhelming majority of the value in speaking and reading Chinese tends to occur in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Contrary to what some may believe, the overwhelming majority of China is not set up for English speakers in much the same way Miami is for Spanish speakers. Just as not being able to speak English in Chicago is a handicap, not being able to speak Chinese in China is also a disadvantage. However unless you plan to reside in one of these regions, it is likely not worth it for the majority of students. Needless to say if you have a deep love of the language, culture and literature of China, you will find the time and energy to study Chinese no matter where you live.
Fluency in Mandarin alone does not guarantee business success in China. Many foreign language students fail to recognize the importance of having a technical skill in addition to their language proficiency. Without a technical skill or specialized knowledge, a language student has nothing other than translation or interpretation to offer clients or employers.
Internationally Chinese certainly carries less importance than English, as a language of business, international relations and diplomacy. If you were planning on going into any of these areas, English would be a necessity. Contrastingly Chinese skills are not likely to be of any utility in conducting business with the South Americans or the Europeans, but English speakers are very likely to be able to find counterparts who speak their language."Learning Chinese is extremely valuable from a personal growth and experiential standpoint, but there are gaping misconceptions about its practical value outside of China," writes Ben Ross, a Mandarin Chinese Interpreter/Translator, Ethnographer and Consultant. In this post he examines the reasons why Chinese fluency may not be helpful in securing a job outside of China.
Nevertheless while language skills are not an essential component for doing business in China, they can be extremely useful. What are the essentials for doing business in China? First, understanding the culture; second, being very informed about the China business environment and your market; third, being very knowledgeable about your product/service and technical skill; and fourth, great patience and perseverance. The greater Chinese language capability you have the easier it will be to learn the culture and the market. But experience demonstrates that there are other ways to acquire this knowledge. Acute observation skills are an essential part of learning culture and a vital component to understanding social interaction and communication. Since the Chinese themselves rely to a great degree on non-verbal communication, reading it accurately is essential to navigating China. As just one example, for politeness or face-saving, often a "yes" actually means a "no". I have written more about this here (search for the word "localization" and begin reading).
Even for the most fluent non-native Chinese speakers, it is often more efficient to delegate certain kinds of work, i.e. translations, to a native speaker. Therefore if even the most skilled can outsource their work, then non-speakers of Mandarin can do the same. However, note that the non-speaker/non-reader will be unable to verify the work without the help of someone he/she trusts, which is not an issue to take lightly.
"The [US Government] understands that you simply can't engage China effectively with managers that don't speak Mandarin," writes Rick Switzer,Foreign Service Officer US Embassy Bridgetown.
If you take the time to learn Chinese and can't find a company that appreciates the value that you bring to the table look up [the US Government], he understands the value bi-lingual/bi-cultural Americans. It still amazes me that major multinationals from the most culturally diverse country in the world seem to think that culture doesn't matter and anyone in the management chain is qualified to run their business in China without any specialized language or cultural training.
While cultural and language skills are invaluable, business success in China also requires knowledge of the market, China, international, or both, and specialized or technical knowledge related to a certain product or service.
Clearly legal and official environments value Chinese fluency. Here follows a related example, but as viewed from the U.S. public's perspective.
Joe Wong, a well-spoken Chinese-born American, illustrates in this performance at the Annual Radio and Television Correspondent's Dinner (C-SPAN2) how to win over the hearts and minds of the citizens of your adopted country when cultural knowledge, language mastery and localized humor are combined with great artistry.
Has anyone ever seen a foreign-born speaker of Chinese leave a room full of mainland Chinese journalists and politicians with deeply respectful smiles of joy as Mr. Wong has done?
In my six years in China, I certainly have never seen anything like this. Whether this is an illustration of the poor Mandarin abilities of most foreign-born speakers of Chinese, a reflection of the inability of foreigners to access the sophisticated aspects of Chinese humor, the humorlessness of Chinese journalists and officials, or a combination of all of the above, I really don't know.
Maybe I am just never invited to the right parties.