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ATC In China: Which Language Is Used?  
User currently offlineHT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 23
Posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 6483 times:

Inspired by thread 38657 in "Site related" the following question came to my mind:

Which language is used in Air Traffic Control in P.R. of China (excluding Hong Kong for this) when dealing with native crews on airliners ?
IIRC at Hong Kong-Kai Tak there used to be different tower frequencies for English and Chinese (but was it Cantonese or Mandarin ? ).
-HT


Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineLegacyins From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 2077 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 6396 times:

I just returned on United 888, PEK-SFO, last week and had channel 9 on all the way across the Pacific. ATC China use bothe the English language and Chinese( Mandarin) when aircraft are within their airspace. If the crew of a Chinses airliner spoke to ATC in Mandarin, ACT would respond back in Mandarin. As you can imagine, it was all English with my flight.


John@SFO
User currently offline777klm From China, joined Apr 2005, 530 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 6383 times:

An is the Russian ATC english only, or Russian as well (with native crews)?!


Next flight: AMS-PEK
User currently offlineCX flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6605 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 6207 times:

Mandarin is spoken to the Chinese carriers when flying in china. English is of course used to speak to non-local carriers in their airspace.

However, I believe that the authorities have made it mandatory for ALL carriers to speak english when operating into Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou airports.

Hong Kong and Macau, are of course english only.


User currently offlineN754PR From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 6195 times:

There are a few Chinese crews around these days that use English when talking to ATC in China... Heard it on my scanner from Hong Kong.

User currently offlineEK156 From United Arab Emirates, joined May 2005, 765 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 6094 times:

In Dubai when the ATC is an Arab and the airline is from an Arabic country they only greet each other in arabic but all formal ATC instructions are in English.

Come to think of it, it is very difficult for an ATC to use the arabic language to direct traffic. English is much easier.


User currently offlineNYCFlyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1387 posts, RR: 10
Reply 6, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 6065 times:

Quoting EK156 (Reply 5):
Come to think of it, it is very difficult for an ATC to use the arabic language to direct traffic. English is much easier.

Just curious, why do you say this? I've been taking Arabic for the last two years, and this would never have occured to me.


User currently offlineDogfighter2111 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 1968 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 6008 times:

Don't you have to know how to speak English to be an ATC'er in any Country?

Thanks
Mike


User currently offlineRDUDDJI From Lesotho, joined Jun 2004, 1483 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5929 times:

In Russia (at least over Siberia) they speak English to English speaking crews and Russian to Russian ones. They also sound like they are on a speaker phone...


Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
User currently offline10MID From Singapore, joined Aug 2004, 198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5275 times:

In Mexico ATC speaks Spanish to the crews of planes from Spanish-speaking countries. Once I also heard Houston Center hand a Mexican aircraft off to Monetrrey Center in Spanish.

User currently offlineGg190 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 160 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5251 times:

Don't know if it still the case but French ATC used to speak French to French pilots, and English to others. I think this might have been outlawed when pilot was killed at CDG in an accident.

A shorts 330 (or 360?) was cleared for take-off on one end of the runway, while and Air Liberte (?) aircraft was cleared for take-off from the other end of the same runway. ATC gave the Air Liberte pilot insruction in French, and as result the captain of the shorts did not know that the aircraft had been cleared for take-off on the same runway as him, and he sadly lost his life when the 2 planes collided.

One danger of not using the same language for all ATC instructions. I think Dubai have it right, greet the pilot in your own language, but give all instructions in English.


User currently offlineJetHost From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 65 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5110 times:

Quoting Gg190 (Reply 10):
Don't know if it still the case but French ATC used to speak French to French pilots, and English to others. I think this might have been outlawed when pilot was killed at CDG in an accident.

A shorts 330 (or 360?) was cleared for take-off on one end of the runway, while and Air Liberte (?) aircraft was cleared for take-off from the other end of the same runway. ATC gave the Air Liberte pilot insruction in French, and as result the captain of the shorts did not know that the aircraft had been cleared for take-off on the same runway as him, and he sadly lost his life when the 2 planes collided.

One danger of not using the same language for all ATC instructions. I think Dubai have it right, greet the pilot in your own language, but give all instructions in English.

I remember watching this on a tv program, very tragic loss.



Thanks, Philip :)
User currently offlineIMatAMS From Netherlands, joined Feb 2005, 317 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 4598 times:

This thread reminds me of one of the 'classic' aviation jokes on the net:

A Lufthansa flight is approaching Frankfurt and concacts Frankfurt Radar. He starts speaking in german, until the controller cuts him of and tells him that regulations require he speaks English. The pilot gets mad, saying: 'I'm a german, flying for a german carrier, talking to a german at a german airport. Why the hell should I talk English?'
Then an anonimous, but VERY british voice is heared saying:
'Because you lost the bloody WAR!'.....


User currently offlineFlyKiWi From Hungary, joined May 2005, 60 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4347 times:

Quoting Gg190 (Reply 10):
Don't know if it still the case but French ATC used to speak French to French pilots, and English to others.

Eh... yeah this still happens... MALEV crews usually baffled in french airspace  Smile



"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" -Gandhi
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26499 posts, RR: 75
Reply 14, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4283 times:

Quoting Dogfighter2111 (Reply 7):
Don't you have to know how to speak English to be an ATC'er in any Country?

Yes

Quoting Gg190 (Reply 10):
Don't know if it still the case but French ATC used to speak French to French pilots, and English to others. I think this might have been outlawed when pilot was killed at CDG in an accident.

French pilots and ATC are still allowed to communicate in French, but they are not allowed to use the ultra-quick, essential commands they used to as they were found too confusing for other pilots.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineMorvious From Netherlands, joined Feb 2005, 707 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 3895 times:

I think the rules must be the same all over the world.
Flying is going more international all over the world, more airports are handling more international traffic.. Don't we need one language?

Saying hello to a Pilot in your own language is OK, but lets do the rest in english.

A little virtual example.

I love flightsimulator fs2004, and Ill play it online on the network.
Last I flew to Rome. On my TCAS display I saw outbound traffic from Rome, and it was on my route. I heard ATC speaking to him in his own Italien language, I could hear him using my callsign (DAL070), but I didn't had a clue what he told him, what the plane was doing and where he was going.

If the ATC had said it in English, I could hear if the plane didn't get orders that could be dangerous for both of us, SO I could jump in between.

Point I am saying.
All people can make mistakes, ATC's and Pilots to. If an ATC or Pilot make one, but he is saying it in a language you don't understand, you can't react to it. As A pilot you want to know what the plane in front of you is doing (I hope). Thinking a few steps ahead, instead of following it.



have a good day, Stefan van Hierden
User currently offlineLightsaber From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 13130 posts, RR: 100
Reply 16, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3798 times:
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Quoting Morvious (Reply 15):
Don't we need one language?

Yes, ICAO met and standardized in 1942 on English.

Quoting IMatAMS (Reply 12):
'Because you lost the bloody WAR!'.....

As bad as the joke is, its true. Think about 1942 when the ICAO meeting was held in the US and air travel rules were standardized. When the language subject came up, who was at the table? Viche France was technically at war with the US so they and there Colonies would have been denied access to the country and thus no vote. German? At war with the US. Japan? At war with the US. Who else? Please remember the votes went by aircraft production! So the big producers at the table were the USA, Britain, Canada, and then the smaller aircraft producers: Australia, South Africa, and some British colonies assembling kit aircraft. Everyone said "Thank you Canada for the idea of two languages, we're voting for English." During and after the war, the US air corps set up the air traffic control systems in Africa, across the Pacific, and Eventually into Europe (with British help, of course). And remember there wasn't exactly much notice before the meeting. If you weren't in Los Angeles buying aircraft (or elsewhere on the West Coast), you probably didn't have a representative at the meeting.

Quoting Gg190 (Reply 10):
I think Dubai have it right, greet the pilot in your own language, but give all instructions in English.

Sounds appropriate and I hope English speaking pilots learn the proper greetings for their common destinations.

Lightsaber



Societies that achieve a critical mass of ideas achieve self sustaining growth; others stagnate.
User currently offlinePADSpot From Germany, joined Jan 2005, 1676 posts, RR: 5
Reply 17, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3592 times:

Quoting Lightsaber (Reply 16):


Quoting IMatAMS,reply=12:
'Because you lost the bloody WAR!'...

As bad as the joke is, its true.

Lol ...Lightsaber, I think his joke more relates to the cordial relationship between the Dutch and the German people. It was a more a joke for insiders. Usually we respond to these kinda jokes with a neat song about the outstanding performance of the dutch soccer national team in the forefront of the last soccer world cup. But I forbear from this here, because deep in our European souls we like each other .

Fortunatly Germany lost the war, but English would have became the ATC language in any case, because it is also the lingua franca in most other domains beside aviation. E.g on the internet English has became the standard language without that somebody formally agreed on it ...

[Edited 2005-07-14 23:58:24]

User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14026 posts, RR: 62
Reply 18, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 3542 times:

Quoting Lightsaber (Reply 16):
Quoting Morvious (Reply 15):
Don't we need one language?

Yes, ICAO met and standardized in 1942 on English.

This is wrong. Official ICAO languages are English, French, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Arabic and Russian. Any of these languages can be used for ATC purposes. Since this is the result of the Chicago convention of 1944, Germany, Italy and Japan were obviously not invited. Additionally all countries can use their own language as long as there will be not missunderstandings. E.g. in Germany you can get a purely German language aviation radio licence, which only permits you to operate your aircraft outside controlled airspace. To fly into controlled airspace you'll need a higher level radio licence, which includes both German and English.

Lufthansa procedures are in English language, even between native German Lufthansa pilots and mechanics. Also since the late 1990s all maintenance task cards and documents are in English language. Before LH used to have the problem to have to translate everything into English if they wanted to sell an aircraft (I did my apprenticeship right during the transitional period).

Jan


User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21532 posts, RR: 59
Reply 19, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3522 times:

Quoting Lightsaber (Reply 16):
Everyone said "Thank you Canada for the idea of two languages, we're voting for English."

If only the IOC had said the same thing. English and the host country language are enough. I'm an English and French speaker, and I don't see the point of repeating everything in French at the Olympics other than it sounding pretty.



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineHKGKaiTak From Australia, joined Jun 2005, 1050 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 3459 times:

Going slightly OT here . . .

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 19):
If only the IOC had said the same thing. English and the host country language are enough. I'm an English and French speaker, and I don't see the point of repeating everything in French at the Olympics other than it sounding pretty.

It's actually French first then English second at the Olympics. This caused a furore at the Sydney games when the appointed announcer, SBS TV's news anchor, Mary Kostakidis, fluent in both languages, refused to announce French first English second . . . the Olympics announcer post went to someone else who would comply.

Back onto aviation, are the cockpit warnings available in other languages or are they in English only? (Remember the Chinese MD82 crew who wondered what "pull up" meant shortly before crashing?)



4 Engines 4 LongHaul
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 21, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 3356 times:

Out Here too.The only local language is a greeting "NAMASHKAR" The rest of the Conversation is in English.
I think by having a common language understood by all,the chances of something going wrong is avoided.
Listening watch is a part of flying too.
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offline10MID From Singapore, joined Aug 2004, 198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3256 times:

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 21):
The only local language is a greeting "NAMASHKAR"

BTW, what is the difference between Namashkar and Namaste?


User currently offlineAntiuser From Italy, joined May 2004, 657 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3255 times:

In Brazil, most national crews speak to ATC in Portuguese. Sometimes you'll even hear an AR, PZ or PU crew speaking to ATC in "Portuñol".
I even heard a FX pilot talk to CWB ATC in Portuguese once, but he got confused and switched back to English.



Azzurri Campioni del Mondo!
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 24, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 3205 times:

Quoting Antiuser (Reply 23):
In Brazil, most national crews speak to ATC in Portuguese

Out here a Few Braziallian Pilots fly for BDA/DHL & their English accent is quite tough to interpret for some locals  Smile

Quoting 10MID (Reply 22):
BTW, what is the difference between Namashkar and Namaste

The Same.But the Former sounds better  bigthumbsup 
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
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