01/11/2018, by CLAS

Routes into China – a trip down memory lane

Routes into China – jiù dì chóng yóu or; a trip down memory lane

Exactly four months on from our recent ‘Routes into China’ conference held at Nottingham Contemporary in July, I just want to remind myself of everything I learned on the day. What I loved about this conference is how much the whole day of activities and events reflected the nature of international business and the foundations of our ERDF work placements project, Languages for Business.

Trading internationally is about so much more than translating marketing materials. Languages for Business knows that achieving success internationally requires a real understanding of the culture you are marketing to, or trading with. The conference also highlighted just how strong UoN’s links with China are, particularly with the talk from China Britain Football Centre.

My favourite bit of the event was the Chinese Tea Ceremony demonstration, pitched in the middle of the tea break. There are a lot of metaphors you can take from a Chinese Tea Ceremony, namely the reminders to take your time, pause, focus and appreciate the moment. It was interesting to see the parallels with our unofficial ‘British Tea Ceremony’ – get out favourite mug, head to sofa, dip a biscuit in, get a phone call, forget tea, pour it away cold, repeat!

Another really popular session was the Chinese business etiquette workshop, which included advice on how to order meals for business meetings, how to serve drinks and the importance of making a toast. Cultural business etiquette advice is an important part of the services we offer as part of Languages for Business.

After some interesting follow-up conversations with Chinese colleagues, here are a few more pieces of business etiquette we learned:

  • Strong relationships are important before making a deal so be prepared for lengthy business lunches and dinners.
  • Gifts are welcome but avoid presenting umbrellas, books, or clocks as all of these items have names that sound very similar to negative words in Chinese.
  • Take business cards like a gift, with both hands and look at them for a moment before putting away.

Other workshops included an introduction to WeChat, China’s 1 billion (yes billion!) user social media platform as a must-know tool for engaging with the Chinese markets.

In the last year, 49% of our work placements have been in Chinese translation, market research or cultural advice. It has so far been our primary language for work placements with a large proportion of those students simultaneously undertaking degrees in Chinese/English translation.

‘Routes into China’ was hosted jointly by Languages for Business, the Confucius Institute and the Asia Business centre.

One success story to emerge soon after the conference was Far Composites who attended the workshop which introduced the businesses to Nottingham’s strengthening trade links with China.

As a result of the conference, Far Composites have now been shortlisted in the 2018 Nottingham Ingenuity International Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition, and are visiting Ningbo to discuss opportunities to link up with the Nottingham-Ningbo Incubator to secure business in the region.

We wish them the best of luck and success! Or rather, zhù nǐ chéng gong!

Languages for Business is part of the Enabling Innovation ERDF scheme to support Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire small to medium enterprises expand and grow. We offer support in the form of student placements in language and cultural expertise to grow and strengthen international trade. Recent language placements have focused on market research, translation, interpretation and basic language and cultural business etiquette training. To find out more and get involved, please visit our website, or contact Project Co-Ordinator, Jo Gregory.

Written by Jodie Thompson, Marketing Assistant, Languages for Business

Posted in CulturesLanguages and Area StudiesUncategorized