16x Engineer

2022-10-18 02:40:45 +0000 - Zhu Liang

With more Chinese tech companies setting up engineering offices outside China, local hires are becoming a norm.

These locally hired engineers typically have limited Chinese language proficiency. It is a challenge for them to understand the Chinese tech terms used in their daily work, and to communicate with their Chinese colleagues.

Here are 5 common Chinese tech terms, along with explanations and examples of usage in a sentence.


灰度 huī dù

Huidu is a widely used Chinese technical term. Huidu means rolling out experimental new features to a small subset of users for testing.

The implication of huidu is that the new feature may be launched officially (at a later date), or scrapped if it did not have the desired outcome.


The literal translation of huidu is “grayscale”. Intuitively, huidu represents the transition state between black and white.

Note that huidu can be used to describe product features, functionalities, or code deployment.

When describing a product feature, the close equivalent would be beta release or phased rollout in English.

When used for describe code deployment, canary release is also an accurate translation.

Examples of huidu in a sentence


轮子 lún zi

Lunzi describes tools, libraries or frameworks that have been invented or reinvented multiple times.

Typically it is used for new things that are created to solve a specific problem, but bear resemblance to something existing.


The literal translation for lunzi is “wheel”, and the origin of the word is likely from the English phrase “reinvent the wheel”.

Despite the apparent origin from English, lunzi as a word has no equivalent translation in English.

The literal translation “wheel” might be the best candidate.

Example of lunzi in a sentence


沉淀 chén diàn

Chendian is not a technical term, but it is commonly used in Chinese tech companies. It means consolidating learnings from past experience.

It also implies coming up with a systematic solution to a recurring problem.


The literal translation for chendian is “chemical precipitation”, drawing from the intuition that things are consolidated from liquid form to solid state.

At the beginning, things are messy and fluid. But as you learn and progress, they because more clear and structured.

There seems to be no equivalent term in English to describe this concept.

Example of chendian in a sentence


大盘 dà pán

In Chinese tech companies, dapan is used to describe dashboards with various charts, where you can monitor key system metrics or business metrics in real time.


Dapan originally refers to the big screens in stock exchanges showing market data.

The close equivalent of dapan in English would be “monitoring dashboard”.

Examples of dapan in a sentence


埋点 mái diǎn

In Chinese companies, maidian refers to embedding of tracking code to monitor and analyse user behaviour.


As individual characters, “mai” means burying, and “dian” means points. The phrase “maidian” literally means “embedding points” or “burying seeds”.

The intuition is that by “embedding” the “seed” in the product, the user journey can be mapped out later.

It can be translated into tracking, tagging or user data analytics depending on the context.

Examples of maidian in a sentence