How to Break Through Language Barriers in China

A photo showing different languages of the word welcome
China Brides Caption logoAvoid communication culture shock on your
China trip.

For English speakers, communication barriers don’t get much in the way as English of varying quality is prevalent in most tourist destinations.

Going on a China trip is no different than traveling to most other international destinations.

The heart of the country is a welcoming haven for foreign visitors, except for those who want to go farther.

The further you stray from the country’s capital, the more the language barriers become intimidating.

However, language difficulty is not enough reason to dread visiting China and miss out on the best China tour packages.

In most parts of Beijing, there are various tourist-oriented restaurants and hotels where staff members speak just enough English.

If your China trip itinerary includes visiting areas outside the city of Beijing, it’s very likely that you’ll fall into frustrations of getting your point across.

If your best attempts fail, it’s important to have backup plans so you can communicate better, or in this case, in other possible and convenient ways.

Before and during your China trip, make sure that you have some helpful communication tools handy.

Tips on Overcoming Communication Barriers

A photo of two men from different races sitting down while chatting in a cafe
China Brides Caption logoBe sure to prepare ample communication tools
before you go on your China trip.

The language barrier in China may give a certain amount of culture shock to first-time visitors as they become familiar with Chinese culture.

Fortunately, there are various ways to keep this under control.

Keep Communication Tools Handy

Using any of these tools alone might not be that much help. A combination of the following, on the other hand, will definitely help you be understood.

Learn the Essentials When Ordering Food

Going into restaurants, you can order Chinese food or English cuisines by pointing to dishes that other customers are eating.

When you are seated, make sure to pay attention to other customers’ orders to check for anything that looks appetizing.

To indicate something, point it out with your chin or full hand while dining at a Chinese restaurant.

Some establishments will also go further by inviting you to the kitchen so you can choose what you want prepared.

When they do, point out fresh-looking ingredients for a meal.

It’s almost always that Chinese and English versions for some dishes and recipes are available, especially in tourist-oriented eateries.

If you want to enjoy China to the fullest, try ordering dishes in Chinese versions.

Know When and Where to Find Assistance

When getting tickets, large train and bus stations usually have ticketing windows aimed to assist foreigners and are usually staffed by locals who speak enough English.

Finding assistance for English speaking tourists won’t be much of a problem as there are signs above windows or kiosk.

However, taking a taxi can be challenging.

Taxi drivers mostly speak limited to zero English.

Whether you’re going out for date night or heading to the airport, there are things you can prepare for before leaving the hotel so you can avoid any potential problems:

Practice Using Words and Phrases You’ve Memorized When Conversing With the Locals

Foreigners are encouraged to interact with the locals and say hello in their native language.

Aside from getting friendly smiles and responses, you’d get to know about other great destinations and things to try out as well.

Unlike Japan, you will not have to bow down as they do handshakes, although more loosely than the Western way.

Here are some tips to help you in your pursuit to interact with Chinese locals:


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