All you have to do is point and grunt!
The world is filled to the brim with a multitude of different and colorful cultures. For many (if not all) of us, this can be an overwhelming experience because not everyone communicates the same way. The biggest examples for this are the different kinds of languages. Learning a language can be a rather daunting experience, though it’s a given that the process of learning one from start to finish is completely worthwhile.
“But I don’t speak any Chinese?”
However, it’s completely understandable to have a need for easier communication that does not necessarily have to do with mastering the language completely. The Chinese for example have a language that is intuitive but still difficult to comprehend because it isn’t just the language that’s different; it’s the way they convey it as well. This leads to a lot of confusion, especially if you need to be able to communicate in Chinese – whether you happen to have visited China for vacation or any other reason. This raises the oft-asked question: what are some easy ways of communicating in Chinese?
First step? Learn beginner’s Chinese!
While this is all about finding easy ways to communicate in Chinese without necessarily having mastered the language, it is important if not outright essential to have at least some grasp of it.
Try to absorb a few the beginner’s lessons. The results will speak for themselves when you end up having a much easier time communicating.
After all, Chinese is hardly the most difficult of the prime languages to learn, though it does have its particular quirks. You don’t need to spend every waking moment trying to learn Chinese, but it is important to understand at least the common phrases. This is true even for tourists who happen to be traveling the country for fun. You don’t want to get caught in a situation where you get lost and can’t find your way because you couldn’t communicate even simple Chinese.
Body language and pictures go a long way!
While this might seem a little childish, there’s a reason why pictures and body language can be so effective.
Ensure that all important information is written in basic Chinese
While having pictures and being able to act things out is all well and good for universal necessities, there will be times when that won’t be enough.
Try having the address where you’ll be staying, location of the person you need to meet, the nearest metro station, nearest cross roads (This is very important in China), or just about anything else you might need when you go out. While it’s true that you won’t be able to write anything down yourself, the Internet holds a wealth of different translators that will help you jot down or print out information that you’ll need on the trip.
Problems like this normally happens when you’re trying to give a taxi driver an address, or any other situation that involves specific information. Thankfully you’ll only end up in this type of situation if you didn’t prepare for the trip!
Speaking of translators, make sure to use them!
We live in an age where your smart phone is capable of translating just about any language with the right application. There’s no reason to make things so difficult for yourself when Chinese translation services are just a click (or tap) away. Another important thing to note here is to have a translation app for places where you don’t have access to the Internet. Thankfully there are more than a few applications out there that allow you to download them for offline use.
Learning more about the culture will make it easier to communicate
Did you know that counting to ten with your fingers is different when doing it in Chinese? Sure, counting one to five might be similar, but after that things get tricky. Just like most aspects of life, it’s the little things that matter in the end. While you don’t have to learn everything you possibly can, it’s still very much prudent to do a little more homework regarding the Chinese culture.
Don’t forget to always have something you can use to jot things down!
Surprisingly, this is a step that most people tend to overlook when they visit China. Having a notebook with you and a marker or a pen is absolutely essential.
Once again, it might be a little silly to draw a picture to get your point across, but the Chinese certainly will not fault you for it.
For example, you’ve just gotten out of the airport and you want your driver to take you to a particularly famous landmark. However, you can’t find the picture you have of it and you can’t access the Internet because there’s no Wi-Fi in the taxi.
Fortunately, you didn’t forget your handy notebook and pen, and so you can draw the landmark’s most defining features.
If it works, it ain’t stupid
Again, don’t worry about looking ridiculous when trying to communicate. Prepare as much materials as you feel you’ll need to make your trip to China an easier one!
Is a senior content writer at Day Translations, a human translation services company. After her long stint as an international civil servant, she has aggressively pursued her interest in writing and research.
She has notable fondness for things related to technology, travel, lifestyle, social media, and current affairs. She is also an advocate and mother to 7 successful children.