My friend, Matt Brandt, has been doing business in China off and on for nearly 20 years. He lives in Beijing now and is deeply involved in putting the eastern and western business cultures together. The website for his services will be ready to launch soon, and as soon as it’s up and running I’ll post the link so you can see for yourself. (I’ve seen the beta version, and it’s going to be very exciting).
Chinese/western cooperation and business partnership is the new frontier, as we should all know by now, but when Matt first went over there, the sight of a big, hairy white man was odd indeed. I’ve been badgering him for years to write a book about his experiences—I hope someday he will, because his stories are amazing, hilarious, and damn near unbelievable. Challenges with the language alone could fill volumes.
We here in the west get a good laugh at how the Chinese can massacre the English language, but we have no idea what it’s like when the shoe’s on the other foot. (I’d love to see how that translates). In Chinese, every intonation makes a difference and can completely alter the meaning of the word.
For example, Matt was working with his Chinese tutor the other day and practicing the phrase, “I want to take a taxi to the airport.” He got the words right, apparently, but because of the wrong swing in his tone, it came out as, “I want to take a taxi to an extremely fat chicken.”
His tutor laughed so hard she fell out of her chair.
So, take that, English-centrics! I think we’re far more entertaining to them than the other way around.
Have a good day and I wish you much porpoise hair.