5 Tips for avoid language misunderstanding when you importing from China

Many importers have experienced that when they importing from China, the supplier misunderstand the specification because of different description.

You might query the supplier for the problem, but it would delay the shipping schedule and broken the relationship in sometimes. One reason is because you contact from your Chinese supplier not in high ability level of English, they are English-speaking staff to work with foreign customers. but there’s no guarantee of the English ability level to full understand your importing requirement. Especially in some professional languages and regulations.

So even when you’re communicating with someone who seems to have a strong grasp of English, it’s best not to simply send them product specifications by Skype or whatsApp, then expect them to fully understand your requirement, you ‘d better to improve something like emails, phones etc. that don’t make the importing down.

The key to avoid misunderstanding by your Chinese supplier is clear, simple and open communication. Don’t rely on spoken or written correspondence alone to relay your expectations. Every import should know how important with this, here are 5 tips of tangible ways to achieve:

Download APP like Skype, WeChat or Whatsapp

Use them to contact your Chinese supplier quickly. Most of the sale representative from factory knew how to use Skype, Whatsapp to work with customer, they might also have questions need to discuss with you and hope to get the answer rapidly instead of lately like email. For the most popular chat app in China, over half Chinese people are using Wechat every day. WeChat can help you contact your supplier quickly and reliably. The free app also has a translate function, in case your supplier has trouble expressing something in English.

Creating a QC checklist for your product.

A QC checklist is one of the most valuable tools for clarifying product requirements for your supplier and any staff that will conduct quality control inspection. By working with your supplier directly to develop this document, try to make it as detail as you can, then you can ensure that workers manufacturing your product clearly understand expectations.

Keep your emails short and simple.

Try as possible as you can to avoid technical jargon. For easily understanding, just write short sentences and keep the email in one subject, do not mix up all your requirements in emails, then supplier will easy to confused what’s topic and requirements

Important emails with a phone call.

Chinese that can speak English tend to be more comfortable with written, rather than spoken, English. You can’t assume your suppliers clearly understand requirements in your phone calling. But it’s respect and good way to call your supplier shortly after sending an important email to confirm their understanding. Getting them on the phone also reduce frequent repeated dialogue through complicated emails, give a chance to discuss your requirements and shorten the development time.

Translator with you if visiting your supplier.

Maybe not always necessary to take translator with you, but please do realized that translator can help you in extra value, like evaluate the factory, clear up the confusion with deal rules, technical requirements, and discuss more detail with project schedule etc.(AQI Service can provide engineering service and representation office service.)


We all knew not just language but also cultural differences lead to the misunderstandings with Chinese suppliers, product details and other specifications can get lost in translation between the communication. But don’t you see the communication and the meeting with you for technical requirements gets easier than years before?


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