Ok, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But I have been introduced to a clever new service, “LanguageBridge” from London Translations, that allows for 24/7, on-demand telephone interpreting. You set up an account, call the hotline, an interpreter connects with the person you want to speak to in China, and you can speak…in Chinese.
Of course you have to pay for the service, but compared to hiring an interpreter (with minimum costs, scheduling etc.) – or not being able to get things done at all because of the language barrier – it seems to make good economic sense. So, get talking.
For more details, see the site .
Or, if you have more time, and really want to learn, try out online Mandarin classes with ChinesePod .