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I am going to China for 1 month trip to go around China as I can.I plant to go Beijing ,Xi'an ,Changsha and Yunnan.What should I prepared for this trip? My Chinese friend offers me a website Learn to Speak Mandarin Chinese Quickly and Effectively and said that I should learn speaking Chinese before I went to China.But in my mind Chinese is really hard to learn.Can anyone who can give me some advice on that ?Must I learn Chinese for my trip to China?
 

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Short Answer is No!
Chinese cannot be learned with just the motivation of one month trip other than Ni Hao and Xie Xie (even these four words require a lot of effort to sound correct tones) because even if you memorize some phrases, the selection of tones would definitely kill the meaning. In any case, the good news is that your selection of towns mostly would keep you in range of English speakers! :)
 

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I had a teacher who came four days a week for more than a year. I still cannot hold a conversation in Chinese with anyone!

I can get by when I go shopping on my own so unless you are great conversationalists then trying to learn it like a native is not necessary.

When I need to have serious conversation such as my recent visits to the hospital I take an English speaking Chinese friend with me to act as translator.

Of course fo younger ones learning is easier.

Zhongshan Billy
 

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I think only in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai you can find local people who speak English. Having a friend who speak English travelling with you will help. Also, you might consider using some Chinese apps design for foreign travelers to get around
 

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I am going to China for 1 month trip to go around China as I can.I plant to go Beijing ,Xi'an ,Changsha and Yunnan.What should I prepared for this trip? My Chinese friend offers me a website Learn to Speak Mandarin Chinese Quickly and Effectively and said that I should learn speaking Chinese before I went to China.But in my mind Chinese is really hard to learn.Can anyone who can give me some advice on that ?Must I learn Chinese for my trip to China?
You need to carry a phrase book at the very least. I have been in China 21 years and can only just get by. It is a little like being illiterate, the inability to read write or speak a language will be very frustrating to say the least.
 

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There are some first class translator apps. I have one in English - Chinese and my wife;s phone is Chinese to English,

I will get the name of the one we use as it is very good.

Zhongshan Billy
 

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There are some first class translator apps for cell phones. I have one in English - Chinese and my wife's phone is Chinese to English,

I will get the name of the one we use as it is very good.

Zhongshan Billy
 

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Don't expect anyone to speak English in Changsha! The only things in English are major road signs. Most cash machines have an English option. Don't forget to add 00 before your 4 digit PIN. They use 6 digit ones here. Best translation app for me is Pleco. It is free but has major extensions if you want to pay the money (say to translate optical character recognition). I've been here a year and study using RosettaStone everyday but no one understands me. Things are pronounced differently here. 'Sh' is pronounced 's' and 's' is pronounced 'sh'. Very confusing. Travel with a Chinese speaker. The museum here is great and unusually every exhibit has an English description.
 

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Don't expect anyone to speak English in Changsha! The only things in English are major road signs. Most cash machines have an English option. Don't forget to add 00 before your 4 digit PIN. They use 6 digit ones here. Best translation app for me is Pleco. It is free but has major extensions if you want to pay the money (say to translate optical character recognition). I've been here a year and study using RosettaStone everyday but no one understands me. Things are pronounced differently here. 'Sh' is pronounced 's' and 's' is pronounced 'sh'. Very confusing. Travel with a Chinese speaker. The museum here is great and unusually every exhibit has an English description.
I have been here 6 years had a personal Tutor come to my house every weekday for a year. Nothing stuck.

I have learned more from our nieces 3 year old than all those lessons. But how often do I get to have conversations with 3 year olds.
As for the Hunan dialect, then that is something different entirely.

Zhongshan Billy
 

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My new cell phone has a link to 365. On that website there is a link to download a Cell phone translating app. You speak into the phone in your chosen input language and it plays it back in Chinese.

You also get to check the message that it has heard your correctly before you make it audible.

Zhongshan Billy
 
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