How to Talk About Professions in Chinese – Learn Chinese HSK 1-4

Especially when immersing oneself in Chinese-speaking contexts or situations, discussions about occupations are vital and enriching in the diverse Chinese language. Understanding the jargon and expressions used to define different occupations helps facilitate clear and efficient communication. Here, we look at the vocabulary and phrase patterns that will enable you to speak fluently about other professions in Chinese.

Vocabulary: Professions in Chinese

Understanding the names of various professions is the first step in being able to talk about jobs and careers in Chinese. Here is an expanded list of professions translated into Mandarin:

Teacher – 老师 (lǎoshī)

Doctor – 医生 (yīshēng)

Engineer – 工程师 (gōngchéngshī)

Lawyer – 律师 (lǜshī)

Nurse – 护士 (hùshì)

Police officer – 警察 (jǐngchá)

Scientist – 科学家 (kēxuéjiā)

Artist – 艺术家 (yìshùjiā)

Chef – 厨师 (chúshī)

Programmer – 程序员 (chéngxùyuán)

Photographer – 摄影师 (shèyǐngshī)

Writer – 作家 (zuòjiā)

Journalist – 记者 (jìzhě)

Architect – 建筑师 (jiànzhùshī)

Dentist – 牙医 (yá yī)

Constructing Sentences

Now that we have a vocabulary list let’s learn how to construct sentences using these terms. The primary sentence structure in Chinese follows the Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) format. Below are some examples:

我的姐姐是护士。(Wǒ de jiějiě shì hùshì.) – My sister is a nurse.

他想成为一名科学家。(Tā xiǎng chéngwéi yī míng kēxuéjiā.) – He wants to become a scientist.

记者正在写一份报告。(Jìzhě zhèngzài xiě yī fèn bàogào.) – The journalist is writing a report.

Questions and Responses

Being able to ask about someone’s profession and responding appropriately is also essential. Here are some examples:

  • 你做什么工作?(Nǐ zuò shénme gōngzuò?) – What is your profession?
  • 我是老师。(Wǒ shì lǎoshī.) – I am a teacher.


Being able to discuss different occupations in Chinese improves your language abilities and broadens your social circle. You may talk confidently about other professions in Chinese if you understand the terminology and phrase patterns described in this article!

FAQ: Talking About Professions in Chinese

How do I say the phrase ‘I am a …’ when mentioning my profession?

To mention your profession, you use the structure “我是…” (Wǒ shì …) followed by your job title. For instance, if you are a teacher, you would say “我是老师” (Wǒ shì lǎoshī), which translates to “I am a teacher.”

Can I add descriptors or adjectives to the job titles?

Yes, you can add descriptors to job titles to give more details. For instance, “successful” can be translated to “成功的” (chénggōng de). To say “successful lawyer,” you would say “成功的律师” (chénggōng de lǜshī).

How do I ask about someone’s workplace in Chinese?

To ask someone where they work, use the question “你在哪里工作?” (Nǐ zài nǎlǐ gōngzuò?), which translates to “Where do you work?” in English.

How can I learn more professional names in Chinese?

To learn more profession names, you can refer to language learning platforms, dictionaries, or take Chinese language classes where you can learn from a variety of resources and expand your vocabulary over time.

Are there different terms for the same profession?

Yes, some professions have different terms, usually formal and informal or colloquial. For instance, a “doctor” is formally referred to as “医生” (yīshēng) but can also be colloquially called “大夫” (dàifu).

Can job titles be gender-specific in Chinese?

Generally, job titles in Chinese are not gender-specific, and the same term is used for individuals of all genders. However, in informal settings, sometimes gender-specific terms are used colloquially, but it is always safer to use gender-neutral terminology to be inclusive and respectful.

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