Twenty-five years ago the Internet and LinkedIn had not emerged, Chinese translations were still handwritten and China was a relatively unknown place. These days LinkedIn has a beautifully translated name and a growing presence in China, and China itself – no explanation is necessary!
But last century in 1992, our ‘big step’ to set up a Chinese communications company seemed brave. Had we listened to colleagues and friends who questioned our logic with “Who’s interested in China” – well, I wouldn’t be writing this reflection.
Back in the early 90s, freshly returned from China full of enthusiasm for the language and people, our faith was quickly rewarded. Interest in learning Mandarin, business communications and pioneering entrees to China needed expertise that Chin could provide.
Insurance companies pursuing licences, Fosterising China’s beer market, packaging companies setting up JVs – all a far cry from our China engagement today – kept us busy.
A great deal of cross-cultural training, language classes, and translation and interpreting services underpinned Australia’s forays into China and Chin was at the coalface.
About the same time, software became available to type Chinese (way before Google and Microsoft). Words were Gods and visits to China always netted dozens of heavy dictionaries – on obscure topics like brewing and fermenting and aviation science. They lined the walls and supplemented visits to the library to look up specialised reference books.
These days Chin translates millions of words a year and interprets for amazing events around the country and region. Globalisation, migration and the rise of China have been very kind to Chin while those words are now at our fingertips. When I go out on the street I hear as much Mandarin as I do English and I reflect on our long and rewarding journey and thank Australia for the opportunity to help make it happen.