Not sure how to talk about your job in Chinese? This article can help! Here, you will find a summary of five useful sentence patterns, along with explanations of their use and common examples. Are you ready?
This pattern can be translated as “I am a …”
It is used for common jobs that have a specific word to describe them. Examples include a teacher (老师), a doctor (医生), a nurse (护士), a soldier (军人), a chef (厨师), an accountant (会计), a singer (歌手), and a dancer (舞者).
Please note singer (歌手) and dancer (舞者) on this list. They are related to art, which has a different method of expression.
Some careers related to art or science, such as artists (艺术家), musicians (音乐家), painters (画家), pianists (钢琴家), scientists (学家), chemists (化学家), physicists (物理学家), pharmacists (药学家), biologists (生物学家) and so on, can also be used with this sentence pattern.
However, ~家 refers to people who have made great contributions in their field and are very famous, so it is not suitable for ordinary people. Furthermore, it is not a modest word, therefore, it shouldn’t be used for a simple self-introduction.
People rarely say:
Even though Einstein, Beethoven, and Leonardo Da Vinci are introduced this way in Chinese, I don’t think they would have liked it. It makes people seem a bit arrogant. However, it is grammatically correct and there do exist particular circumstances in which it can be used. One such example is when you want to emphasize the sacred responsibility of your job: “I am a scientist, I cannot delete or change the date.” 我是科学家，我不能删改数据。In addition, there is also a TV show called I am Speaker 《我是演说家》.
This is very suitable for jobs related to art (such as those mentioned above) as well as other jobs that can be described with a verb-object phrase. This includes painting pictures (画画), singing songs (唱歌), dancing (跳舞), playing the piano (弹钢琴), and teaching the piano (教钢琴).
In comparison, the sentences using pattern #2 show that you are modest and informal. Please note that in the last two example sentences above, the verb changes the meaning of the sentence.
Science-related jobs that can be described with a verb-objective phrase can also use this sentence pattern. For example, doing experiments (做实验) and researching medicine (研究药物).
This is very suitable for jobs related to science. For example: chemistry (化学), pharmacy (药学), physics (物理学), biology (生物学), statistics (统计学), education (教育学), medicine (医学).
This pattern can be translated as “My job is related to …”
It’s purpose is to give a general introduction about the type of work and the field without giving many additional details. When you don’t want to talk about specifics, can’t think of a fixed word for the job, or the job is not well known by the public, you can use this sentence pattern.
Take the last sentence above as an example: “my job is related to medicine.” We know that there are many branches of medicine, so perhaps an ordinary person would not be familiar with a specific branch.
This sentence translates to: “I work at…”
If the sentence patterns above don’t seem right for you or you want to emphasize your workplace, try this one.
You can also add some modifiers to the sentence in order to make it more informative.
You can actually think of this sentence as a complicated version of sentence pattern #4. There are also some differences between them.
但是 ~家 是指贡献非常大，非常著名的人，不适合普通工作者。另外这不是个谦词，多用于评论性的描述。比如：爱因斯坦是科学家。贝多芬是音乐家。达芬奇是画家。但是很少有人会说我是一个音乐家，我是一个科学家，我是一个画家，即便是爱因斯坦，贝多芬，达芬奇可能也不会这样去描述自己的工作，因为这样给人的感觉很傲慢，不谦虚。
这个句型可以与英语中的 “I work at XX” 直译，应用也比较广泛。如果你觉得上述几个句型不适合描述你的工作，你可以试试这个。