Chinese is an opaque language. Instead of an alphabet they have several thousand characters. Each character represents a different word. For example over an exit sign there are four characters, which mean safe exit, but individually the four characters have a different meaning. There is no chance that an English speaker can guess a printed word’s meaning. Our team is dependant on our translators in order to function. On a medical mission there is no room for error, so everyone has been vigilant to be sure they are understood.  For everyday communication pointing, gesturing, and smiling has become an important part of our communication.