Translation is often described as an art form.

It requires more than just an understanding of words and converting them from one language directly into another.


Translation requires a deeper understanding of both cultures.

For instance, when considering legal translation, translators need to have a very good knowledge of both legal systems operating in the source language and in the target language.

That is partly the reason why Google translate is not a match to human translation as discussed in our previous post.

Therefore, we can understand that professional translators are experts in their field and that their experience is crucial when it comes to helping business sell their products and services overseas.

However, translation alone, even certified translation, is often not enough in creating an international business.

Companies should embrace local cultures and understand the social norms and customs of the target audience in order to succeed.

Every single country has different norms related to doing business which stem from the historical events in those countries and are engrained in their population.

Let’s take a look at doing business in China.

The norms of Chinese culture, whose economy has been growing at an amazing rate whilst most of the western world has seen slow growth, show that they have very strong cultural values which are quite different from those in the western world.

Even such a relatively small thing as a business card can make or break a relationship.

So, it’s imperative to understand the business card etiquette.

We all know that our business cards represent the brands we work for, and one can learn a lot from the way the business card is designed and printed.

This is even more important in China.

Attending a meeting without translated business card into Chinese does almost irreparable damage to the business relationship.

Even if the people you’re meeting speak and write in perfect English, your cards should be translated.

Do ensure you use the correct version of the Chinese characters depending on your audience.

Chinese simplified characters are used for mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia; whereas the traditional Chinese characters are used in Taiwan and exclusive areas of Hong Kong.

In addition, the cards should be exchanged at the beginning of the meeting and you should always use both hands to present your card with the translated side facing the person you meet.

The business cards you receive represent that person so it’s important to study the card for a little while before putting it next to you on the table.

You should never write on the business card you receive or put it in your back pocket as this is deemed very disrespectful.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch should you have any questions about the translation of business cards or any marketing collateral translation.

We love helping business succeed in overseas markets and our translators’ passion for languages and cultures helps with breaking the language barriers.

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