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Jobs and Workplaces in Chinese Posted by on Nov 29, 2016 in grammar, Vocabulary

Love it or hate it, work (工作 – gōng zuò) is an important part of life. Most people have to go to a job, whether you’re a part-time employee or the CEO. Since it’s such a time-consuming and important aspect of our lives, work is a topic that often comes up in conversation. This post will teach you how to talk about your job and ask basic questions to others in Chinese.

Job Titles

我是老师

我是老师

The first question you’ll need to learn is a very common one:

What’s your job?
你做什么工作?
nǐ zuò shén me gōng zuò

To answer, simply say:

I’m a/an… + job title
我是…
wǒ shì

Not sure about job titles in Chinese? Here are 25 common ones that you can study:

  • accountant (会计 – kuài jì)

  • actor (演员 – yǎn yuán)

  • agent (代理商 – dài lǐ shāng)

  • artist (艺术家 – yì shù jiā)

  • assistant (助理 – zhù lǐ)

  • boss (老板 – lǎo bǎn)

  • business person (商人 – shāng rén)

  • chef (厨师 – chú shī)

  • designer (设计师 – shè jì shī)

  • doctor (医生 – yī shēng)

  • engineer (工程师 – gōng chéng shī)

  • freelancer (自由职业 – zì yóu zhí yè)

  • lawyer (律师 – lǜ shī)

  • manager (经理 – jīng lǐ)

  • musician (音乐家 – yīn yuè jiā)

  • nurse (护士 – hù shì)

  • photographer (摄影师 – shè yǐng shī)

  • police officer (警察 – jǐng chá)

  • receptionist (招待员 – zhāo dài yuán)

  • sales person (售货员 – shòu huò yuán)

  • scientist (科学家 – kē xué jiā)

  • secretary (秘书 – mì shū)

  • teacher (老师 – lǎo shī)

  • waiter (服务员 – fú wù yuán)

  • writer (作家 – zuò jiā)

Don’t see your job on there? Tell us what you do in Chinese in the comments section so we can all learn even more vocabulary!

Workplace

我在学校工作

我在学校工作

Another common question related to work is:

Where do you work?
你在哪里工作?
nǐ zài nǎ lǐ gōng zuò

Of course, there are a variety of ways to answer this question. You could give the city or part of town where you work, the type of workplace, or even the company name. Here are ten common workplaces in Chinese to help you out:

  • office (办公室 – bàn gōng shì)

  • school (学校 – xué xiào)

  • university (大学 – dà xué)

  • hospital (醫院 – yī yuàn)

  • factory (工厂 – gōng chǎng)

  • restaurant (饭店 – fàn diàn)

  • market (市场 – shì chǎng)

  • hotel (酒店 – jiǔ diàn)

  • store/shop (商店 – shāng diàn)

  • shopping center (购物中心 – gòu wù zhòng xīn)

To answer the question giving your workplace, simply put the correct word in the middle of this sentence:

I work at/in…
我在… 工作.
wǒ zài… gōng zuò

The Golden Arches - very well-known even in China.

The Golden Arches – very well-known even in China.

If you work at a company that’s very well-known – such as Coca-Cola or Apple – you might as well learn the company’s name in Chinese. Get the Chinese names for 50 famous companies here.

Further Reading

Teaching English in China is awesome!

Teaching English in China is awesome!

Teaching English in China: If you’ve ever thought about teaching English in China, this page is a great resource. We cover the basics – finding a job, getting a visa, etc. – and also detail our real-life experiences over 5+ years teaching in many different jobs.

My Job: Practice your reading skills in this post about my job as an English teacher in Beijing. Study the post and then try to write a similar one about your job.

China’s Workforce: Learn all about the past, present, and future of China’s workforce. From Mao-era work units, to reform and opening up, to recent boom years and beyond, things change quickly in China.

What’s it Really Like Working in China?: Take a look at the two extremes in China – extreme wealth and extreme poverty – as well as the minimum wage, holidays, and more to get an idea of what it’s really like working there.

 

We’ll leave one more question here for you to try and answer in Chinese:

Do you like your job?
你喜欢你的工作吗? 为什么?
nǐ xǐ huān nǐ de gōng zuò ma? wèi shén me?

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About the Author:sasha

Sasha is a teacher, student, writer, photographer, web designer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently planning a trip through Central/South America.


Comments:

  1. Will:

    For job titles what about retired?

    • sasha:

      @Will Good one! Retired is 退休 (tuì xiū). So you can say 我退休了.


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