(July 24): Your business survival in China usually depends on somebody else — your translator. The level of dependency will vary from total to almost total unless you are fortunate enough to be fully fluent in Chinese.

Better translation relationships start with the understanding that what is simple for you may be complicated for others in ways you are not aware of. This may include the way the question is formulated. What you say may have an impact on wider background issues you are not aware of, including cultural sensitivity, political sensitivity and bureaucratic or administrative barriers. In short, you cannot speak as freely or as unthinkingly as you do in your home country because people you are working with do not have your common background of language habits.

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