Barry your translating experience during your trip will be similar to my experience studying with my former girlfriend at Tsinghua University last spring: she is a Korean national who some people judged to have a Chinese countenance. When we were out and about, it was usually me talking to the waiter, ticket taker, asking directions, etc since I was more comfortable expressing myself in Chinese, but her listening comprehension was far better than mine! So often I would not be able to understand something and then she would translate to me, in English, only for me to pass it on, in Chinese! Hahaha it was quite a sight and only hope you have the same fun on your trip that we did!! What cities will you visit on the mainland?