As increasing numbers of Chinese nationals are traveling abroad, more and more of us are welcoming Mandarin speakers to our hometowns and workplaces as guests and clients. No longer is Mandarin a language useful in Chinese-speaking countries alone.
I witnessed this earlier this month in the South of France, at a tiny non-descript restaurant by the sea that has recently started serving Chinese tourists on a very regular basis. My waitress confessed that she often felt frustrated because she had no idea how to talk with her Chinese customers.
Whether for use at an office, shop or restaurant, to learn some Mandarin is a wise move. A large proportion of Chinese in their 20s and 30s have decent English (if only written), but to have some basics can help put everyone at ease and build long-lasting relationships. As Nelson Mandela famously said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
This post covers some essential basic phrases for talking with your customers in Mandarin Chinese:
|Huān yíng guāng lín ！
|It’s nice to meet you (formal)
|Xìng huì ！
|I’m sorry, I don’t speak Chinese well.
|Duì bú qǐ ，wǒ zhōng wén jiǎng de bù hǎo .
|How can I help you, sir/madam?
|Xiān sheng /Nǚ shì ，yǒu shén me wǒ néng bāng máng de ma ？
|Please let me know if you have any problems.
|Rú guǒ yǒu shén me wèn tí ，qǐng suí shí jiào wǒ.
|Would you like to see the menu?
|Xū yào cài dān ma ？
|Would you like a table for 2?
|Xū yào liǎng rén zhuō ma ？
|I recommend this dish. It is a specialty of the house.
|Wǒ tuī jiàn zhè dào cài .Zhè shì běn diàn de tè sè cài .
|I recommend this wine. It is locally produced.
|Wǒ tuī jiàn zhè zhǒng jiǔ . Zhè shì běn dì zhì zuò de .
|Is everything OK with your meal?
|Fàn hé nín kǒu wèi ma ？
|We only accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express.
|我们只接受Visa, MasterCard, American Express卡。
|Wǒ men zhǐ jiē shòu Visa, MasterCard, American Express kǎ .
|I’m sorry, we can’t accept Union Pay.
|Duì bu qǐ ，wǒ men bù jiē shòu yín lián zhī fù .
|Would you like to check-in?
|Nín yào bàn lǐ rù zhù shǒu xù ma ？
|Here’s your key.
|Zhè shì nín de yào shi .
|The elevator is over there on the left/right
|Diàn tī zài nà biān de zuǒ biān .
|Wishing you have a lovely stay at our hotel.
|Zhù nín zài wǒ men lǚ guǎn dù guò yí duàn měi hǎo de shí guāng .
|Would you like me to call you a taxi?
|Xū yào wǒ bāng nín jiào chū zū chē ma ？
|How do you like America/the UK/France/Australia?
|Nín duì Měi guó 、Yīng guó 、Fǎ guó hé ào dà lì yà zěn me kàn ？
|Are you having a nice trip here?
|Nín zài zhèr dù jià yú kuài ma ？
|Are you here for business or vacation?
|Nín lái zhèr shì chū chāi hái shì dù jià ？
|Goodbye, see you next time!
|Báibái ，xià cì jiàn ！
Are there any other phrases that you would find helpful? Feel free to let us know in the comments!