How to write an email in Chinese

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If you are writing a work-related email to Chinese companies or Chinese clients, the first thing you should focus on as a Chinese learner is having a subject line that reflects conciseness, clarity, and politeness. Even when emailing a Chinese person who is a friend or someone not associated with your business, keep a polite form as well as have subject lines that are short and to the point.
Example:
申请调休
shēn qǐng tiáo xiū
Application for taking time off from work in exchange for unpaid overtime
The Chinese business culture, Chinese culture and Chinese people in general, are accustomed to apologizing for any inconvenience, especially when requests are made or bad news is shared. If you're writing an email to a Chinese pen pal or close friend in your daily life, use informal but still polite language to communicate.
As a general rule, Chinese communications tend to be more formal. In other words, it's never detrimental to start formally and have an element of formality when you are emailing a Chinese speaker. The same is true for Chinese letters that you might send to Mainland China.

 

Starting an email

Let us start at the beginning. If you write an email to your family and friends in Mandarin Chinese, you can say qīn ài de … 亲爱的 …which means Dear….
It is a good idea to start an email to your boss, a teacher, an elder, or a client by using these Chinese words and common patterns:
Zūn jìng de 尊敬的 …means honorific plus Chinese names, family name plus…xiān shenɡ 先生 Mr. or last name plus... nǚ shì 女士 Ms…...

 

Using the right titles

Use appropriate titles or business titles when you send a formal letter, formal email and emails to other companies in China or someone you has yet to become your close friend. It is not until you are very close friends with someone that you stop using titles. Here is a useful list with some titles that are common in China:
女士 – nǚ shì – Ms, Mrs
先生 – xiān shēng – Sir, Mr
经理 – jīng lǐ – manager
总经理 – zǒng jīng lǐ – CEO, higher position than jīng lǐ 经理 manager
领导 – lǐng dǎo – leader
同事 – tóng shì – colleague
同志 – tóng zhì – compatriot (a less formal title)
To send Chinese emails to someone you don't know, begin it with jìnɡ qǐ zhě 敬启者 "to whom it may concern" or zhì xiānɡ ɡuān rén shì 致相关人士 "to relevant persons".

 

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Greetings

Common ways to write greetings are nǐ hǎo 你好 "Hello", nín hǎo 您好 "Hello(politely)", zǎo shɑnɡ hǎo 早上好 "good morning", xià wǔ hǎo 下午好 "Good afternoon" or wǎn shɑnɡ hǎo 晚上好 "Good evening".
In most cases, we then move straight to the topic.

 

Closing the email

You should insert a blessing sentence before closing an email, such as Zhù nǐ gōngzuò shùnlì, shēntǐ jiànkāng 祝你工作顺利, 身体健康  I wish that everything goes well at work and a good health!
An excellent way to end formal emails, if you need help from someone or someone with a high position with the following characters and spacing:
Cǐ zhì jìng lǐ 此致敬礼 With best regards
Close the emails by writing your name after you have written the blessing words. You can also add your title or position after your name.

 

Email template

As we have presented the building blocks needed to write emails above, here is a mail template in the Chinese language with the pinyin and English translation:
尊敬的吴经理:
你好!
我们合作时间已经超过6年,我们的合作一直很愉快,并且我们一起取得了很好的收益。
为了加深我们的合作关系,和进一步扩大我们的业务范围。因此,我计划在1月23日拜访您,跟您商讨新一年的业务细节。不知您那天是否有空?如果不行的话,哪天比较方便?
祝工作顺利!
你的合作伙伴
朱丽娅
 
Zūnjìng de Wú jīnglǐ:
Nǐ hǎo!
Wǒmen hézuò shíjiān yǐjīng chāoguò liù nián, wǒmen de hézuò yìzhí hěn yúkuài, bìngqiě wǒmen yìqĭ qǔdéle hěn hǎo de shōuyì.
Wèile jiāshēn wǒmen de hézuò guānxì, hé jìnyībù kuòdà wǒmen de yèwù fànwéi. Yīncǐ, wǒ jìhuà zài yī yuè èrshísān rì bàifǎng nín, gēn nín shāngtǎo xīn yī nián de yèwù xìjié. Bùzhī nín nàtiān shìfǒu yǒu kòng? Rúguǒ bùxíng dehuà, nǎ tiān bǐjiào fāngbiàn?
Zhù gōngzuò shùnlì!
Zhūlìyà
 
Dear Manager Wu:
Hello!
We have been working together for more than 6 years, our cooperation has been pleasant, and we have achieved good results together.
In order to deepen our partnership and further expand our business scope. Therefore, I plan to visit you on January 23 to discuss business details for the new year. I wonder if you are free that day? If not, which day is more convenient?
Wish you the best at work!
Julia
 

What about the email signature?

China has a solid and unique business culture focused on relationships. Thus, it is always good to add your contact and relevant information in your signature when writing emails in China. A dense signature will also seem more professional for non-business emails.
Except for the tail of the email address, you should write your full signature with Chinese characters.
Example:
朱丽娅 学中文公司市场部经理
广东省广州市天河区体育西路9999号
+47 908 14 756
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Zhūlìyà xué zhōngwén gōngsī shìchǎng bù jīnglǐ
Guǎngdōngshěng Guǎngzhōu shì tiānhéqū tǐyù xī lù 9999 hào
+47 908 14 756
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Zhu Li Ya, Marketing Manager of Learning Chinese Company
No. 9999, Tiyu West Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province
+47 908 14 756
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

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