The Correct Way to Pronounce English Abbreviations in Chinese


You probably already know some business words in Chinese and didn't realize. Did you know we use some of the same abbreviations and words for technology? Have you heard anyone ask about WiFi? or send you a PDF? While many of these abbreviations are the same in English and Chinese, some look the same but are pronounced differently.


Word, Excel, Mac, and Windows are all used the same way in both languages. Phone applications, however, is one difference. In English we abbreviate the word as "app". In Chinese, however, "app" doesn't sound good to native Chinese speakers. There is no final vowel sound to pronounce. Instead, native Chinese speakers spell the word when they refer to a phone APP, saying each letter individually. Another example is PowerPoint documents (slides). The sounds in the word PowerPoint are difficult to pronounce so native Chinese speakers call a set of slides a PPT.

Remember to avoid abbreviations in general when speaking to your Chinese colleagues and clients. If you are unsure if they will understand, say the full word or phrase or choose another way to communicate your meaning.

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