What other courses go well with Chinese language skills?

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What other courses go well with Chinese language skills?

Postby Milkybar_Kid » 15 Jun 2012, 23:03

I understand that Chinese language skills on their own are pretty useless without some other skills to supplement language ability. But what goes well with Chinese language skills?

I am looking into getting some professional qualifications under my belt and was thinking about a finance/ accountancy course.

Any ideas?
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Re: What other courses go well with Chinese language skills?

Postby archylgp » 15 Jun 2012, 23:46

Milkybar_Kid wrote:I understand that Chinese language skills on their own are pretty useless without some other skills to supplement language ability. But what goes well with Chinese language skills?

I am looking into getting some professional qualifications under my belt and was thinking about a finance/ accountancy course.

Any ideas?


This is a popular fallacy. I've found that knowing Chinese will open doors and what you do after that will just add to whatever set of skills you have...But, if you are a college student, I suggest engineering; if I had a BA (graduate degree would be better) in material science and engineering right now, I would be making a lot money...(I should add, having a permanent working visa helps immensely.)
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Re: What other courses go well with Chinese language skills?

Postby ironlady » 16 Jun 2012, 09:07

Unless you are obsessive about improving your Chinese, even "opened doors" won't translate into "very lucrative full-time work". Having another qualification is a very, very good idea. The sad fact of the world is that people who are (engineers, accountants, lawyers, doctors) hire and fire people who only translate or interpret -- which is about all (other than teaching, which is even worse) you can do if you have only Chinese in your qualification box.

Notice that I say "qualification box" and not "skill box" -- I have a lot of skills, but I find it very difficult to present this in a way that a prospective employer here in the States will accept. Opportunities subsequent to "opened doors" tend to be rather quirky and not easily fitting into the molds that employers offering highly paid jobs want, regardless of how well they might equip you to actually do those jobs.
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Re: What other courses go well with Chinese language skills?

Postby Icon » 16 Jun 2012, 13:36

I think it depends on what you want to do. Back in the ol country, English opened the doors for me in customer service, teaching, translation. I had received training and further education in those areas. I took on Chinese with the hope of matching it with an MBA and getting into a plush, well paid managerial position, or so was the original plan. I have made a living quite comfortably on my limited Mandarin and translation skills so far, but I am also looking to enhance my abilities to move further on.

If you are younger, I think something better related to IT -you mention engineering- would be more profitable. Finance is a bit hit and miss, me thinks, even though I have many friends and classmates in that field. Mandarin helps a lot, it is part of their set of skills necessary to do the job. However, it obviously must be what you like to do.
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Re: What other courses go well with Chinese language skills?

Postby archylgp » 17 Jun 2012, 12:21

ironlady wrote:Unless you are obsessive about improving your Chinese, even "opened doors" won't translate into "very lucrative full-time work". Having another qualification is a very, very good idea. The sad fact of the world is that people who are (engineers, accountants, lawyers, doctors) hire and fire people who only translate or interpret -- which is about all (other than teaching, which is even worse) you can do if you have only Chinese in your qualification box.

Notice that I say "qualification box" and not "skill box" -- I have a lot of skills, but I find it very difficult to present this in a way that a prospective employer here in the States will accept. Opportunities subsequent to "opened doors" tend to be rather quirky and not easily fitting into the molds that employers offering highly paid jobs want, regardless of how well they might equip you to actually do those jobs.


You can do a lot more than teaching and translation with functional Chinese skills; for example, import/export work, customer service, marketing, consulting...Taiwanese companies need people who are really fluent in English -- like being able to pick up a technical document in different areas that you might not really know much about and make sense of it pretty quickly and communicate it to your Taiwanese employer. The vast majority of Taiwanese people who speak English can't do this; they don't have the language tools or the research tools to get it done -- yahoo dictionary can only take someone so far. And since there are not many native English speakers who can, either, employers are willing to hire someone based on their language ability alone and then teach them the rest. Over the last 6 months I have done all the types of work I mentioned above plus more at one company. After a couple years of experience I expect I will be able to find more profitable and interesting work...Perhaps I'm wrong but I think work experience is more valuable than academic experience, which is much easier to get, anyways, and we - Chinese-speaking native English speakers - have a great opportunity here in Taiwan to get some work experience. Of course, there are downsides and it's important to find a company that will let you advance opposed to just sitting at a desk all day burning away the hours...

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