Learn Survival Chinese
Wikitravel users have collectively created a free Chinese phrasebook with the goal of making it possible for travelers to "get by" while traveling in areas where Chinese is spoken.
Wikitravel phrasebooks are available in many languages and each one varies in depth and detail. Most of the phrasebooks include a pronunciation guide, a general phrase list, information about dates and numbers, a color list, transportation-related phrases, vocabulary for shopping and phrases for eating and drinking. Some are even more in depth, and all are free!
This Chinese phrasebook is not a language tutorial, comprehensive grammar or dictionary. Its goal is to define just enough of the language so that an English-speaking traveller can "get by" in areas where Chinese is spoken.
Mandarin Chinese is the official language of China and Taiwan, and is one of the official languages of Singapore. In English, it is often just called "Mandarin" or "Chinese". In China, it is called Putonghua (普通话), meaning "common speech", while in Taiwan it is referred to as Guoyu (國語) - "the national language." It has been the main language of education in China (excluding Hong Kong) since the 1950's. Standard Mandarin is close to, but not quite identical with, the Mandarin dialect of the Beijing area. Note that while the spoken Mandarin in the above places is more or less the same, the written characters are different. Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau all still use traditional characters, whereas China and Singapore use a simplified derivative.
View the Chinese phrasebook on Wikitravel with Simplified Chinese Characters.
View the Chinese phrasebook on Wikitravel with Traditional Chinese Characters.