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Lack of English language skill costs China high-speed contract

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BEIJING: Amid China making a strong pitch for export of its bullet train technology to India and the world, Chinese officials said inadequate English language skills have become a serious disadvantage for the high-speed rail exports resulting in loss of a lucrative contract in Northern Europe.

After two years of efforts, the overseas marketing team at CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co, the manufacturer of the communist giant's high-speed train, was just one step away from winning a bid in a Northern Europe project in late 2012.

Due to mistakes in translations, the plan, however, submitted by the Chinese team was rejected, state-runChina News Service quoted the China Economic Weekly as reporting.

The Chinese for 'window wiper' was translated into English as 'dust cloth,' which is a typical example of Chinglish, Zhang Minyu, vice general manager of the railway company's Overseas Marketing Division said.

There is no uniform English translation of Chinese high-speed rail standard specifications, leaving Chinese companies with no consistent English format to follow when bidding for projects overseas, the report said.

China's technical and commercial English lags far behind overseas rivals such as France-based Alstom, Canada-based Bombardier and Germany-based Siemens.

This might be the biggest disadvantage for China's high-speed rail exports, Xu Bo, manager of the Overseas Marketing Center at CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co, said.

Xu added that technicians who can communicate in English like native speakers are treasured.

An industry expert advised that in order to form international standard documents, China needs joint efforts from companies and the academic community, as well as a unified government organisation.

China, a late entrant in the Bullet train technology, is making strong bid in recent months to market abroad competing with Japan and Germany after building extensive high speed train network in the country touching about 10,000 kilometres.

China plans to conduct a free feasibility study in the Delhi-Chennai corridor next year while Japan is doing the same in Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor.

Earlier, China had lost USD 3.7 billion contract to build a high-speed rail link in Mexico after the country's legislature raised concerns about the nature of the bidding process.


Direct Link: http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-12-30/news/57529160_1_bullet-train-technology-high-speed-train-delhi-chennai

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