The Chinese Proficiency Test
November 25, 2013
November 26, 2013

Do Not Forget Your Field!

Studying Chinese while Developing Your Specialty

While learning Chinese, don't forget to develop your expertise. As China shifts towards spending its huge monetary reserves domestically, many top international corporations are securing contracts in the fields of engineering, transportation, healthcare, information technology, finance companies and marketing. You may be studying Chinese to achieve some conversational potential and awareness of the Chinese language, but don't forget to learn how to present yourself and your skillset in the language; just learning from textbooks is not enough. To learn Chinese for your future, you must also learn the culture of your field. Only this will give you the aggressive edge in the jobs market.

One way to get started on this path is to make some index cards with a single massive character on the front and the character's pronunciation and meaning on the back. You should be choosing words that are specific to your field, words that you won't learn from your textbook and Chinese classes. Carry these index cards around with you and pull them out every time you have a moment. Some Chinese language language use index cards like this, but you'll be supplementing your courses with industry-specific vocabulary. As you learn more characters, you'll start to discover recurring themes and patterns in your industry's jargon. This can assist you in guessing new words you encounter in your field. The more characters you learn, the more easily you'll learn new ones.

Keep in mind the Chinese language writing system is the hardest part of learning Mandarin. You will need to find out about 2,000 Chinese characters to read a newspaper and about 2,000 more just for your field. But today, few people actually write; most people type. The best way to learn Chinese for your field is to type your index cards. Every week retype them and reprint them. This habit will get you to remember how to type (and write if you're using WuBi) the important words in your field. But practice recreating these words in every way you can: speaking to a tape recorder, typing on your laptop, or writing on your smartphone. For recording, remember that after you will have recorded yourself, you should evaluate how you sound. This can assist your pronunciation.

And in case you have Chinese language pals in your LinkedIn, check out their Chinese language posts. Their field-specific musings will show you how native speakers use the language in their industry. Learning Mandarin Chinese online will help you link your field and the Chinese language.

Quinn Cash
Quinn Cash
Quinn Cash is a contributor to HSK Tests Online and a Chinese/English translator.

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