Learning the language of business

Learning curve: Mandarin Chinese tutor Jinping Xie with Grant Thornton's Paul Houghton and Claire Davis.

Learning curve: Mandarin Chinese tutor Jinping Xie with Grant Thornton's Paul Houghton and Claire Davis.

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Accountants Grant Thornton and Sheffield City Council have joined forces to help a number of local firms to boost business prospects by learning Mandarin Chinese.

The firm has been hosting a 10 week course in the language, run by Sheffield City Council’s International Business Communication project and Creative Sheffield.

Grant Thornton’s Paul Houghton, Claire Davis, Kim Dennis, Jamie Preston, Katie Ventrella and Ian Robinson were joined for the course at the firm’s Broadfield Court offices by staff from law firm Nabarro, Talking Heads translation services, intellectual property law specialists Withers Rogers and product design business BIG Consultant.

Claire Davis, associate director in the corporate finance department at Grant Thornton, said: “As an international organisation, we already have clients with Chinese operations as well as Chinese colleagues with whom we’re in frequent contact. And we expect our contact with China to continue to grow as trade with the UK increases. Knowing that the Chinese really appreciate efforts to converse with them in their own language, we felt it was worth taking the time and effort to learn some of the basics to demonstrate our commitment to working with them.”

Grant Thornton’s Sheffield office is currently holding talks to formalise links with the firm’s office in Chengdu, with which Sheffield has developed a partnership agreement.

Sheffield City Council’s business development arm, Creative Sheffield, is organising a trade mission in May 2012.

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