Are you starting out your first job at a Chinese firm? Perhaps you've just landed yourself an an internship in mainland China, or at a Chinese company. Or maybe you're just looking to work with a colleague or client who mainly speaks mandarin. Whatever the case is, there are some key workplace phrases that you should definitely know of if you're planning to work with mandarin-speaking clients or colleagues, just to make your work life a little easier.
Meaning: Come in, please.
This is a standard expression used for inviting anyone into your personal space, be it the office, a meeting room, or your apartment. If you'd like to sound less formal, you can use 请进来(qǐng jìn lái).
Meaning: Work from home
Working from home became a default for many people over the course of the pandemic. However, this form of working may just be here to stay, with work from home potentially becoming the new normal for working in our generation. Knowing what WFH means in mandarin can be really helpful when inquiring about work from home arrangements while in a job interview, or perhaps just asking your manager if you can arrange for a work from home arrangement.
Meaning: Keep in touch
This phrase is definitely not limited to just being used in a workplace setting, but it's a good phrase to keep in mind, especially if you'd like to deepen your relationship with people. A similar phrase with the same meaning is 保持联络 (bǎo chí lián luò).
Meaning: (To do) overtime
Not a phrase any of us likes, but a phrase that we will definitely come across at some point in our careers. Used as a verb, it can be utilised in sentences such as “今晚又要加班了 (jīn wǎn yòu yāo jiā bān le; [I] have to do overtime tonight again),” or “按时把工作做完就不用加班 (àn shí bǎ gōng zuò zuò wán jiù bú yòng jiā bān; If [we] finish the work on time, there’s no need to do overtime).”
Meaning: This is my name card.
This is useful when you're networking with other professionals and would like to give them a way of contacting you or your company. As a form of etiquette, be sure to give and receive business cards with both hands!
Meaning: Sorry to disturb you
You're most likely going to use this when you enter just about any situation, like walking into a meeting, or when you're going into your bosses' office to inform him about something.
Meaning:（Usually said to people you have just started working with/ to your colleagues in a new company) Please take care of me/Please guide me along the way.
This doesn't need much explanation, it's just a good way to introduce yourself to the company and to say you're looking forward to working with everyone.
Meaning:（Usually said when someone offer to help, usually said along with "Thank you") Sorry to trouble you!
Meaning: Could you do me a favour?
Well...we can't really explain what this phrase means. But you'll definitely have to use it at some point at your job.
Meaning: Can I trouble you to help me with .....?
Meaning:（When in doubt/ when you need assistance) Can you teach me how to do it?
Meaning:（please go ahead and speak first) You may speak first
For those awkward situations where you start interrupting one another.
Meaning:（Small talk) How's your weekend?
Not everything is about work! Make sure you're able to kick up some casual conversation and make friends in the workplace. Everyone does have their own lives outside of work, after all.
Meaning: For your information
Meaning: Complete ASAP
Probably for those scenarios where an unexpected project comes up and you hvae an urgent deadline to meet.
Meaning: (said to people after work/ when they help you finish the task) it's akin to japanese otsukaresama/ korean su-gohaeseoyo
This phrase, much like its Japanese and Korean counterparts, is to thank your colleagues for the hard work that they've put in at the end of the day.
Meaning: (when someone lend their help and you want to thank them by treating them to a meal) alternative way to say thank you.
Or maybe a way of asking your colleague out.
Hopefully you're able to apply these phrases the next time you're at the workplace, and they give you an overall easier and more pleasant experience when communicating with mandarin speaking colleagues and clients. Bilingualism is more important than ever in today's context for both work and personal life. However, not everyone is effectively bilingual, and can make use of their second languages in the workplace. Bluente is the world's first business language app that can help you to reach your bilingualism goals in the palm of your hands.
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