There are plenty of great reasons to learn Mandarin Chinese, and when you decided to dedicate your time to this exotic language, you must have had more than one.
You must also be in it for the challenge, too. Although Chinese isn’t one of the easiest languages you could pick, if you feel excited every time you avoid some of the mistakes people usually make when learning Chinese, it’s a sure sign you’ve learned to enjoy the process.
However, practicing and actually using the language are two very different things. If the time has come to use what you’ve learned to carry out professional correspondence and you’re feeling insecure about the cultural etiquette you should be aware of, have no fear. Here is all you need to know.
Business letter opening greetings
From “Dear” to “Whom it may concern”, there are so many ways to address a letter recipient in English, but when it comes to business correspondence, there is a limited number of options to choose from.
When it comes to Chinese, it’s customary to look up the person you wish to write to beforehand, learn their name and position, and then address them accordingly. You should open with the adjective 尊敬的 (which is somewhat the equivalent of “dear” in English and in translation means “respectable”). You can also add 致 (“to”) before this adjective.
If you are writing to a male person, use the formal title 先生 (meaning Mr or Sir), and if a lady is your recipient, use 女士 instead. If you don’t know the person you’re writing to and can’t find out their gender, it’s a safe option to address them using their work title instead.
Organizing and closing a business letter
The body of your business letter should structurally be quite similar to the one you would write in English. It’s customary to open with a phrase like “Excuse me for disturbing during your busy time”, as it’s considered to be polite and respectful of the recipient’s time and schedule.
After you’ve clearly stated the reason for making contact, express the desire to hear from the recipient again and gratitude for the time they’ve granted you. Wish the recipient good health and greet them politely by using 此致 敬礼 (the Chinese equivalent to “Sincerely”) before signing your name and stating the date in the bottom right corner.
A letter or an email: What should you write?
Although emails are these days the most commonly used way to address people you’re doing business with, sending a physical letter might be a better idea if you’re planning to address the authorities, for example.
Understanding the anatomy of Chinese business writing
If you want to learn more about Chinese business correspondence, essay paper specialists recommend reading a piece about the differences between Chinese and English business writings for further exploration and expanding your knowledge on the matter.
Also, consider getting your copy of a very useful guide on politeness in business communication in Chinese learners’ letter writing.
Jane Evans is a writer and a blogger from York experienced when it comes to providing paper writing service. She loves to travel, meet new people and talk about literature, modern art, computer games, and new technologies. To get to know her better, find Jane on Twitter and LinkedIn.