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Useful phrases for office workers in Chinese work environment

working in china, chinese office, learning chinese

Foreigners who make the trip over to the land of terrifying wax figures and officials misunderstand the concept of the Internet, will often have one of a number of goals in mind.

Some will be here to study the language and culture. For others it will simply be a stop on their journey of global discovery. Another group will be hoping to plant roots and begin an extended period of their life here.

And a big part of this choice would be working in a Chinese office. The combination of language and culture differences can make this experience much more taxing than it needs to be.

Here are some phrases that will help those who find themselves lost in a Chinese work environment.

年薪 (niánxīn) – annual salary

Fairly self-explanatory and important to know for all the obvious reasons.



wǒde niánxīn shì duō shǎo?

How much is my annual salary? 

保险/社保 (bǎoxiǎn/shèbǎo) – insurance/social insurance

In case you get injured or fall ill. Social insurance is what most Chinese employees have. The company takes out a certain amount from your salary each month for coverage. This allows you to use a social insurance card to hospital payments. However, there is a minimal amount for payments, meaning you will not be able to use it to pay for your prescribed cold medicine.



rúguǒ jiārù shèbǎo, měiyuè cóng gōngzī lǐ kòu duōshǎo qián?

If I accept social insurance, how much is deducted from my monthly salary?

签证 (qiānzhèng) – visa

Arguably the most important phrase to know as a foreigner working in China.



gōngsī néng bāng wǒ bàn gōngzuò qiānzhèng ma?

Can the company provide me with a work visa? 

加班 (jiābān) – work overtime

Rules on this concept changes with companies but sooner or later it when be something that you come across.



wǒ zhōumò děi jiābān.

This weekend I have to work overtime.

请假 (qǐngjià) – request a leave of absence

Want to take a short break from work? This handy phrase will suffice in most cases.



xiàzhōu wǒ mā lái kàn wǒ jǐtiān, néngbùnéng qǐngjià?

Next week my mom is coming to visit for a few days, can I take some time off? 

调休 (tiáoxiū) – compensate for previous overtime by taking time off

Many companies do not provide overtime pay. Instead, they give employees the chance to make up for lost time off.



zuótiān wǒ jiābān le, míngtiān zǎoshàng wǒ xiǎng tiáoxiū.

Yesterday I worked overtime, so tomorrow I would like to take the morning off. 

休假 (xiūjià) – to take a holiday

Can be used to refer to both official and unofficial holidays.



shíyī de shíhòu, wǒmēn yǒu jǐtiān xiūjià?

During National Day, how many days holiday do we have? 

出差 (chūchāi) – business trip

Those of you lucky enough to not be stuck in the office all day every day will be able to take advantage of this.



xiàyuè xūyào qù shànghǎi chūchāi shí tiān.

Next month I need to take a ten day business trip to Shanghai. 

报销 (bàoxiāo) – reimbursement

Often comes hand in hand with business trips. Understanding how much and what you can reimburse is vital information when working.



fāpiào gěi wǒ ba. Wǒ kěyǐ bàoxiāo.

Give me the receipt. I can reimburse it. 

培训 (péixùn) – training

Can be used as both a verb and a noun. Chinese companies may provide both compulsory and optional training opportunities and it could be a good question to ask during interviews.



wǒmen měinián dōu děi cānjiā gōngsī péixùn.

We have to take part in company training every year.

离职证明 (lízhí zhèngmíng) – demission certificate

Companies often require one when you enter a new job, so be sure to ask for if you leave your current one.



wǒ zhǎodào xīn gōngzuò le, xūyào tígōng shàng fèn gōngzuò de lízhí zhèngmíng.

I found a new job, I need to provide a demission  certificate from my previous employer.


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