Learning Mandarin is still a good idea, here’s why

If you’ve decided to learn a new language, chances are someone has already told you about learning Mandarin and what it offers. But most people don’t think that anymore. The world’s opinion about China has fluctuated in the past 18 odd months. People have become wary about anything to do with it, including learning the language. 

We know, we hear you. When relations between India and China are not the most stable, deciding to learn Mandarin may seem like jumping into a dark well without knowing what’s inside. There has been a lot of uncertainty about careers and future prospects for Mandarin learners. But, despite this, learning Mandarin is still a good idea. Here’s why:

The Chinese population — and economy — is huge

graph showing world population according to countries
Source: Our World in Data

China has 1.4 billion people. That makes up just over 18% of the world’s population. If you’re reading this from India, chances are that you know Hindi and maybe even another Indian language. A combination of Mandarin, English, and Hindi enables you to communicate with more than 50% of the world population. It also allows you to gain access to this market and use your language skills to offer related services. Even with just two years of Mandarin language training, you can start taking up translation projects for Chinese companies in India. 

With a huge population, China’s economy is booming. It is home to some big brands such as Oppo, One Plus, Huawei, Lenovo, and more. These have become household names in India. Chinese companies registered sales worth 1.4 lakh crore in 2019, in the technology sector alone! All these companies have Indian establishments that need constant language support for documentation, information exchange, etc in their daily operations. 


China is India’s biggest trade partner

graph showing India's trade with China, USA and UAE
Source: Bloomberg

India China relations have been tense since early last year. But China is still India’s most valuable trading partner. In 2020, trade between India and China was valued at USD 77.6 billion. In the first half of 2021, bilateral trade has totalled USD 57.48 billion and is expected to surpass last year by a big margin. To put things in perspective, India USA trade was USD 75.9 billion in 2020. 

With this tremendous and ongoing growth, the opportunities and demand for Mandarin language experts is soaring like never before. 




Small fish, big pond — individual opportunities

As an individual learning Mandarin, future prospects are bright. Whether you are running a company that does business with China or you are looking to offer your language expertise to other brands, there is a lot you can do. 

As a language that is not as popular among students as French or German, the demand is high for Mandarin speakers. Interpretation and translation are two fields that offer endless opportunities. The corporate sector is also constantly on the lookout for professionals who can communicate efficiently in Mandarin. 

With just two levels of Mandarin and a basic bachelor’s degree in any subject,  you can take up translation projects. Companies require data extraction from Chinese websites and documents. Some also need invoices to be filled in in Mandarin. The work is routine and the vocabulary is repetitive, so you can learn and excel in a short period of time. 

As a level 3 (or higher) student, you can find translation jobs in specific domains such as law or environment, depending on your background. After you complete level 4, jobs open up in technical translations, interpretations, and movie subtitling. 

In conclusion, the current political situation has not had much of an impact on the demand and requirement for Mandarin language experts in India. As an individual, learning and mastering this language will still open up a world of opportunities for you.