Should I learn to read Chinese? Should you?

On and off, I've toyed with the notion of learning to read Chinese. Not to speak, understand or even write it--those might come later. I'm just thinking of learning to read.

Why? China is well on its way to becoming an economic powerhouse and the manufacturing center of the world. They do an increasing amount of electronic design, and (I've read) they increasingly rely on their own standards. There have already been occasions where it would have been convenient if I had been able to read Chinese data sheets instead of searching for English translations. I fear there may come a day when English translations are not available.

I've already bought a few books and flash cards. And for a while I carried the cards with me when I walked to try to memorize the English word or phrase that had been assigned to each character. And I briefly looked at the books to try to grasp the grammar.

Though I must confess, I haven't really given it a serious effort. It seems like an awful lot of memorization, though slightly less daunting than I originally imagined.

What do you think? Should we all learn to read Chinese?


  • Ankita Katdare
    Ankita Katdare
    Chinese, Arabic & Japanese are among the top 10 difficult languages to learn around the world.
    I, being a student of Japanese Language, have found it really amusing how the pictorial script has been developed over these years.
    Learning a foreign language opens new vistas of knowledge & opportunities. So, do it give it some time.
    I am sure it won't go to waste.

    PS: Moved the thread to appropriate section.
  • Kaustubh Katdare
    Kaustubh Katdare
    Well I agree what you said about China. They're growing rapidly and are setting their own standards. I can tell you what's happening in the power industry - Chinese companies are fast entering in the power house, turbines & boiler setups and their engineers aren't trained in English. That makes it very difficult for foreign workers to collaborate with them. Because of a common language for communication, the collaborative problem solving is very tough! Translates aren't of much help in translating the technical problems.

    Learning Chinese makes sense.
  • KenJackson
    PS: Moved the thread to appropriate section.
    General Help? Appropriate? I wasn't asking for help. I was asking for chat.

    Arabic? Are there any Arabic-speaking engineers pressing any frontier anywhere?

    Japanese engineers certainly are. But fortunately Japanese companies all seem to be very fluent and supportive of English.

    Another issue with China is their questionable relationship with the US. They're very eager to sell us their goods, but there's tension in the air. So being able to read Chinese could be handy for a number of reasons.
  • durga ch
    durga ch
    It is becoming heavily important to learn other languages. Though I cannot say if learning Chinese is the best option, but I have this example where I recieved an email in my university mail inbox regarding a vacant post . After the complete description of the Job profile , there was this last line " Students with Mandarin speaking skills are prefered. This was not in US or China , it was Sydney
  • Harshad Italiya
    Harshad Italiya
    I am also agree with Ken as China is growing very rapidly in Electronics and their most of manuals are in their language only so if we want to get best support we might have to use Chinese forum or Chinese website and all of them are in their language so i think for Electronics it would be great if they knows Chinese language

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