How to Complain About Work in Chinese: A Beginner’s Guide

It takes careful balance to complain about work, which is an art. You don’t want to sound entitled or whiny, on the one hand, but also. You also want to avoid unpleasant working conditions in silence. Understanding how to communicate your issues successfully can be particularly crucial if you operate in a Chinese-speaking environment. We’ll cover several key Chinese proverbs and cultural nuances in this article to assist you in expressing your dissatisfaction with your job politely and constructively.

Understanding the Cultural Context

The cultural backdrop of complaining in China must be understood before we get into specific expressions. Harmony and saving face are generally valued in Chinese society. That basically means that it’s regarded as rude to criticize or confront someone directly in a way that might make them look bad. Use indirect language instead, and concentrate on the issue rather than the individual; this is frequently more effective.

Using Polite Language

Before we discuss specific idioms, it is essential to understand the cultural context of complaining in China. In Chinese society, harmony and maintaining one’s dignity are widely respected. It means that criticizing or confronting someone directly in a way that can make them look bad is considered disrespectful. Instead, use indirect language and focus on the problem rather than the person; this is typically more effective.

对不起,我可以跟你谈一下吗?Duìbùqǐ, wǒ kěyǐ gēn nǐ tán yīxià ma? – Excuse me, can I talk to you?

不好意思打扰您,但是… Bù hǎoyìsi dǎrǎo nín, dànshì… – Sorry to bother you, but…

我知道您很忙,但是我需要提出一个问题。wǒ zhīdào nín hěn máng, dànshì wǒ xūyào tíchū yīgè wèntí. – I know you’re busy, but I need to ask a question.

我希望我们可以共同找到解决方案。Wǒ xīwàng wǒmen kěyǐ gòngtóng zhǎodào jiějué fāng’àn. – I hope we can find a solution together.

我感激您对这个问题的帮助。Wǒ gǎnjī nín duì zhège wèntí de bāngzhù. – I appreciate your help with this problem.

Specific Complaints

Now let’s look at some specific complaints you might have about work, along with phrases to express them in Chinese.

工作负担过重 Gōngzuò fùdānguò zhòng – overworked

不合理的期限 bù hélǐ de qíxiàn – unreasonable deadline

缺乏资源 quēfá zīyuán – lack of resources

沟通不畅 gōutōng bú chàng – poor communication

歧视或骚扰 qíshì huò sāorǎo – discrimination or harassment

人员不够 rényuán búgòu -not enough staff

工资太低 gōngzī tài dī – salary is too low

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Resolving the Issue

Working with your coworkers or superiors to find a solution after voicing your complaint is crucial. The following words and phrases can make this process easier.

让我们安排一个后续会议以检查进展情况。Ràng wǒmen ānpái yīgè hòuxù huìyì yǐ jiǎnchá jìnzhǎn qíngkuàng. – Let’s schedule a follow-up meeting to check on progress.

我愿意听取有关改善情况的建议。Wǒ yuànyì tīngqǔ yǒuguān gǎishàn qíngkuàng de jiànyì. -I’m open to suggestions for improving the situation.

我会申请给你们部门增加2名员工。Wǒ huì shēnqǐng gěi nǐmen bùmén zēngjiā 2 míng yuángōng. – I will apply to add 2 employees to your department.

公司会给你涨薪20%。Gōngsī huì gěi nǐ zhǎng xīn 20%. -The company will give you a 20% raise.

公司正在考虑给员工增加奖金。Gōngsī zhèngzài kǎolǜ gěi yuángōng zēngjiā jiǎngjīn. – The company is considering increasing bonuses for employees.


Workplace complaints can be delicate subjects, particularly in Chinese-speaking environments. Yet if you speak the same language and understand one another’s cultures, you can communicate your worries in a way that encourages collaboration on a solution. Always keep the problem in mind rather than the other person, and be explicit about the problem you’re having.

You can effectively complain about work politely and helpfully by following the words and advice in this article. Keep cultural differences in mind as you move through your business and modify your communication style as necessary. Doing this can foster better bonds with coworkers and encourage a more encouraging work atmosphere.


1. Is it typical in Chinese society to voice complaints about one’s job?

In Chinese culture, complaining is often discouraged because it might be perceived as creating discord. Even so, handling problems at work respectfully and proactively is crucial.

2. How can I criticize work without insulting my coworkers?

Use courteous words to convey respect and keep your attention on the issue rather than the individual. Provide clear details and examples of the problem you’re having.

3. Should I bring up my complaints in a group or private?

It’s generally better to address complaints privately, as it allows for more respectful and constructive dialogue.

4. What if my complaint still needs to be resolved?

Raising your concerns politely and constructively is crucial if your complaint is not handled. You should also consider contacting HR or a mediator for assistance.

5. May I use these expressions in other situations, such as social gatherings or dining establishments?

Many of the words and phrases in this article have uses outside of the workplace. Yet, it’s crucial to consider the cultural setting and modify your terminology appropriately.

Always be cautious and flexible in your communication because cultural variations may affect how complaints are perceived and handled. As you gain experience, you’ll gain more assurance in your capacity to respectfully and effectively voice your concerns.

Thus, whenever it’s required, be bold and speak up! You may improve the working environment for you and your coworkers by resolving workplace problems. Good luck, and happy complaining!


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