I received a question from Brian that I want to share with you.
Hi John, I know you visit China frequently and I have been wondering, do you give your talks in English or Chinese? Is it necessary to be able to speak Chinese at the events you attend or do the attendees usually speak English? Could you recommend any resources for someone interested in learning Chinese for business? Thanks, and keep doing more Kudlow & Company shows, you’re one of their best panelists!
Thanks so much for your note. When I give lectures in China I start in Chinese until I run out of gas, then switch to English. At this point I am good for somewhere between a paragraph and a page. It’s not necessary to speak Chinese to visit China or do business there–there are many young people who speak English; there are translators to help you talk with others; and the conferences generally have simultaneous translators. People in China, however, will greatly appreciate the honor you show them by trying to learn their language and culture. It is an act of respect.
I have found that the best tool for learning Chinese is the Pimsleur tape series. (Click on the image to see the details on the course.) You can get the beginning course (18 half hour lessons) at Amazon for less than $40.
I have used Pimsleur courses for more than a dozen languages and find them the best way to get started. And one final tip; you don’t need to buy the full course set right away. The 18 lesson intro series will give you plenty to do for a long time.