By Andrés Ferrans
In recent years and since China has become one of the biggest commercial powers, Mandarin has become particularly important, primarily in the world of business. Because of this, many people who are interested in working in the area of trade have started learning this complex language, in order to have an advantage over their competitors.
Even without this being planned, Mandarin – commonly known as Chinese – has become a fundamental tool for international trade: even more so than English. Carlos Aguirre, Strategic Planning Manager at INCAE Business School, suggests that due to China’s relevance, it is necessary for businesspeople to adapt and learn Chinese. In the same way, according to Universia Chile, learning this language opens many doors for people in the world of work and more and more national and international companies see the importance of job candidates working on this language in order to be able to create and formalise trade agreements with China.
Mandarin is not only used in traditional business, but it is also a truly useful tool when doing business via the Internet. There are businesses – and more than a few – which obtain the majority of their income through the Internet. This means that being able to communicate in Chinese guarantees access to a larger amount of potential customers, as well as giving these companies the opportunity to promote their products and services to a much wider population.
Bearing this in mind and due to growing demand, many universities, business schools and language institutes have opted to teach this language, with the aim of helping their students to be successful professionals. At the same time that these institutions give more and more importance to this activity, they are not the only ones. Many companies have also started to hire teachers who can teach Mandarin to their employees. We can also see that various schools have taken the initiative to start teaching this language to their pupils starting from primary school.
However, it’s also important to remember that as much as Chinese is a great tool for online business, English still is and will continue to be the most established language for both Internet-based and more traditional forms of business. Carlos Aguirre asserts that English is the international language for business, and points to how the majority of websites, including Chinese sites, have English translations. This shows that English is still the global language and that it would currently be difficult for Chinese to overtake it. All the same, Aguirre restates that Mandarin is important to learn.
Not just good for business
Even if you’re not interested in business, Mandarin can be very useful for anyone willing to learn it. One vital reason to learn it is that it’s a very effective way to stimulate and train your brain, given the amount of symbols that are part of the language and that studying it means that you are developing both hemispheres of your brain. It has also been shown that people who start to study Mandarin from an early age become skilled at mathematics, due to calculus being part of this language. Another positive effect of learning Mandarin is the possibility to learn more about Asian culture. Learning a new language means learning about its literature, philosophy, films and music. Starting to learn Chinese can be seen as a challenge, as for Spanish speakers this sort of language, with so many symbols and different interpretations, can be difficult to study, but with time and dedication it’s possible to master the language.
Finally, I’ll leave you with your first challenge to start to learn one of the world’s most important languages: 千 里 之 行 ，始 于 足 下