Complete Guide To Taking a Phone Call in Chinese
Making phone calls in Mandarin can be intimidating, as native speakers tend to speak very fast and you can’t rely on visual clues.
If your phone is ringing, don’t be afraid of the challenge…
We will help guide you on how to make a phone call in Chinese. This will help you to give your communication skills a boost, to master the art of conversation, and to broaden your social life as well!
Phone Calls in Chinese – Greetings
Phone Calls in Chinese – Get the Conversation Started
Phone Calls in Chinese – Speak Slower!
Phone Calls in Chinese – I’ll Call You Back
Phone Calls in Chinese – Wrong Number
Phone Calls in Chinese – Chatting with a Taxi Driver
TEST YOURSELF – Quiz
Phone Calls in Chinese – FAQs
First though, let’s quickly learn the numbers in Chinese because we might be needing those to dial!
Chinese Phone Calls – Greeting
The first thing to learn is how to answer the phone in Chinese.
The classic way to do it is by saying 喂 (wéi) “hello/hey” or 喂, 你好 (wéi nǐ hǎo) for more formal phone calls.
Then you will need to ask or say who’s speaking. In the first case, you will simply ask:
请问是哪位? (qǐng wèn shì nǎ wèi) or 请问你是。。。? (Qǐng wèn nǐ shì) – Who is this?
As an answer to these questions, you will simply say “我是… (wǒ shì)” – “I am…” or 这是 (zhè shì) + name of the company – “This is.” if you are talking on behalf of an organization.
Chinese Numbers | The Ultimate Guide (PLUS Free Quiz Inside)
The Most Comprehensive Online Guide for Counting in Chinese & Talking About Numbers Chinese Numbers are an essential part of day-to-day life. They are one of the first things you’ll study when learning Chinese. So how can we help? We’ve…
Chinese Phone Calls – Get the Conversation Started
If the person who picks up your phone call is not the one you wants to talk with, you might need to ask the name of the person + 在吗 …(zài ma)? or name of the person + 在不在 (zài bu zài) ？- Is … there?”
The other person will respond with 他在/他不在 (tā zài /tā bú zài ) – He’s here/He’s not here.”
If the person you are looking for is there, they will probably say
请稍等一下 (qǐng shāo děng yīxià) – Hold on a second, please.
If not, you’ll be probably asked or ask to leave a message:
需要留言吗 (xū yào liú yán ma) – Can I take a message?
As Chinese native speakers tend to talk quickly, best begin with a polite request to slow down:
Chinese Phone Calls – Speak Slower!!
A very useful phrase not just used in phone calls but generally when speaking Mandarin with a native speaker…
请说慢一点儿 (qǐng shuō màn yī diǎn er) — Could you talk a little slower, please?
Or “Could you say that again, please? 不好意思, 请再说一遍 (bù hǎo yì si qǐng zài shuō yī biàn) — I’m sorry, could you say that again, please?
Chinese Phone Calls – I’ll Call You Back
Sometimes you need to put the other person on hold, where this phrase would be useful.
If you need to hang up and call them back, you can then say: “我马上再打给你 (wǒ mǎ shàng zài dǎ gěi nǐ) – I’ll call you right back.”
Lastly, when it’s time to hang up and end the phone call, you might need to say
好的，我没别的事了 (hǎo de, wǒ méi bié de shì le) – Ok, that’s all.
我先挂了 (wǒ xiān guà le) – I’ll hang up first.
拜拜 (bái bái) – Bye-bye.
Chinese Phone Calls – Wrong Number
Sometimes people will call you by mistake, the next sentence is very easy to use and to remember.
您打错了 （nǐn dǎ cuò le）– You have the wrong number
Another way to say it and is a little more elaborate:
您拨的号码不对 （nǐn bō de hào mǎ bú duì）– You dialled an incorrect number.
Notice how we used 您 rather than the more informal 你. This is because we don’t know the person and it’s best to be more polite in these instances.
Chinese Phone Calls – Dialogue With Didi Driver
So we’ve given you the vocabulary you need, but nothing can beat the feeling of pressure when you phone rings. DON’T IGNORE IT! These exchanges define your progress as a learner.
It’s meant to be hard, it’s meant to be awkward… overcoming it is a feeling of satisfaction that can’t be beaten!
Let’s give you an idea of how that call might go, from start to finish!
Wèi nǐ hǎo
Qǐngwèn shì nǎ wèi?
Who is this?
Zhè shì nǐ dìdì de sījī, wǒ zài xuéxiào mén qián
This is your Didi driver, I am in front of the school
Bù hǎoyìsi, wǒ tīng bù qīngchǔ, qǐng zàishuō yībiàn
I am sorry I didn’t hear you clearly, could you say that again please?
wǒ dào le, wǒ zài xuéxiào mén qián
I have arrived, I am in front of the school
hǎo de, xièxiè
Alright, thank you
And there it is, your pocket guide to taking phone calls in Mandarin, not so intimidating is it!
Chinese Phone Calls – Quiz
Chinese Phone Calls || FAQs
How do you say “Hello” on the phone in Chinese?
喂 Wèi is used to answer the phone in Chinese and not 你好 which is used for hello in Chinese when speaking in person, face-to-face.
How do you say “Who is this” in Chinese?
请问是哪位？Qǐngwèn shì nǎ wèi?
How do you say “Can I take a message” in Chinese?
需要留言吗 xū yào liú yán ma
How do you say “You have the wrong number” in Chinese?
您打错了 nǐn dǎ cuò le
Want more from LTL?
If you wish to hear more from LTL Mandarin School why not join our mailing list.
We give plenty of handy information on learning Chinese, useful apps to learn the language and everything going on at our LTL schools!
Sign up below and become part of our ever growing community!
BONUS | Want to study the local Taiwanese dialect known as Hokkien? We provide Hokkien classes in person and online.