17 Essential Phrases for Effective Mandarin Workplace Communication

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.

1. 请进 (qǐng jìn)

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).

2. 在家办公 (zài jiā bàn gōng)

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.

3. 保持联系 (bǎo chí lián xì)

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).

4. 加班 (jiā bān)

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).”

5. 这是我的名片 (zhè shì wǒ de míng piàn)

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!

6. 打扰了 (dǎ rǎo le)

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.

7. 请您多多关照! (qǐng nín duō duō guān zhào)

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.

8. 拜托你了/麻烦你了 (bài tuō nǐ le/má fan nǐ le)

Meaning:(Usually said when someone offer to help, usually said along with "Thank you") Sorry to trouble you!

9. 你能帮我一个忙吗 (nǐ néng bāng wǒ yí ge máng ma)

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.

10. 能麻烦你帮我。。。。。吗?(néng má fan nǐ bāng wǒ..... ma)

Meaning: Can I trouble you to help me with .....?

11. 能向你请教吗? (néng xiàng nǐ qǐng jiào ma)

Meaning:(When in doubt/ when you need assistance) Can you teach me how to do it?

12. 请讲/请说 (qǐng jiǎng/qǐng shuō)

Meaning:(please go ahead and speak first) You may speak first

For those awkward situations where you start interrupting one another.

13. 周末过得怎样?(zhōu mò guò dé zěn yàng)

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.

14. 供你们参考 (gōng nǐ men cān kǎo)

Meaning: For your information

15. 尽快完成 (jǐn kuài wán chéng)

Meaning: Complete ASAP

Probably for those scenarios where an unexpected project comes up and you hvae an urgent deadline to meet.

16. 辛苦了 (xīn kǔ le)

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.

17. 有机会请你吃饭 (yǒu jī huì qǐng nǐ chī fàn)

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.

This article is brought to you by Bluente, the world's first business language learning app.
To find out more, visit us at app.bluente.com.
Back to Blog