“The 19th century belonged to England, the 20th century belonged to the US, and the 21st century belongs to China. Invest accordingly,” multi-billionaire investor Warren Buffet is quoted as saying.
Why you need Chinese translation
China is now the world’s 2nd largest economy (measured by GDP) and is no longer just a manufacturing powerhouse – it is also strong in the Service sector, and is continuing to grow. So for UK companies who seek to tap in to this success and sell some of their goods to the expanding Chinese middle classes, can they rely on English to reach their target audiences?
The number of Chinese people who know some English is said to be around 300m, however the reality is that even many of the teachers are not fluent in English. A lot of language learning is done by learning things by heart, rather than developing the skills to create sentences for oneself. As a result the level of confidence in reading, writing and speaking is a lot lower than that headline figure of 300m suggests.
For businesses looking to trade in China, the advice to translate your marketing materials and documents into Chinese still holds good and many brands are making good efforts to do so.
Chinese translation fail
Still, beware the perils of poor translation – Nike amongst others has found that the complexities of the language can trip up even major brands.
Nike released a pair of special edition trainers in China. Two Chinese characters, fa and fu were sewn into the back of the shoes. “Fa” translates as “getting rich” and “fu”, which was correctly sewn upside down as tradition demands, means “beckoning in fortune.”
Unluckily for Nike, the combination of the two, “fafu” translates as “getting fat”, which is probably not a great message to sew into a pair of trainers!
If getting into China is important to your business, you won’t want to make any translation fails. Make sure you get advice and help from native Chinese translators, backed up by a local UK team – Accutranslate is your first port of call for accurate and timely Chinese translations – 0800 466 1335.