Publishers in Beijing are lining up to check if books by Indian authors can teach Chinese students and call-centre employees better English than American textbooks. At a time when bilateral ties are strained, the neighbours are finding common ground over a foreign language. India is the country of honour at the 58-nation Beijing International Book Fair that opened on Monday with 27 Indian publishers showcasing 3,500 titles.
“The Chinese are greatly interested in copyright and translation rights for books to learn call-centre English,” Sanjiv Chawla, manager of exports at the Delhi-based Orient BlackSwan told HT at the fair. “The Chinese have a fixed idea that English is best taught by the Americans and British, so we have to explain that English is like a second-language for Indians.”
Books on Buddhism, Rabindranath Tagore and Jawaharlal Nehru are the centrepiece of India’s pavilion so that past cultural linkages strike a bond with China. But the Chinese publishers are mainly interested in India’s legacy of English education, to see if the books could be adapted to modernise Chinese teaching.
Several Indian publishers told HT that English was proving the biggest barrier to selling English books to the Chinese
“We’re trying to interact but we can’t express ourselves,” said Subhabrata Deb, a publisher from Tripura.
Millions are learning English in China but outdated textbooks and rote-learning methods can leave even graduates with English majors tongue-tied at the workplace.
China needs a vast new English-speaking workforce to realise its ambitions to expand the service sector.
India exporting English to China - Hindustan Times
I found it a bit funny.