Consideration for doing business in Spain
More in common than you know
Spanish and English share quite a lot of vocabulary through cognates, as both languages derive many of their words from Latin and Arabic. English speakers are likely to be able to recognise around 3,000 Spanish words without even stepping into a classroom!
Spanish is the official language in 22 countries and it is the second most-used international language.
Same language, not quite
Several different dialects are spoken in Spain. Castilian Spanish has official language status across Spain and is sometimes used as a term to distinguish European Spanish from the Spanish spoken in Latin America. Other languages or dialects spoken in Spain include Andalusian, Catalan, Basque and Galician.
Pleased to meet you … and you
Mode of address is important. ‘Tú’ is used for people that you know on a first-name basis whereas ‘Usted’ is used more formally and for people you don’t know.
Size is important
Be aware there is likely to be a text increase of 15-20% when translating from English into Spanish so keep this in mind when formatting your text.
To make the best first impression, all your printed material, such as company leaflets or business cards, should be available in both English and Spanish for business meetings. It would be beneficial to have one side of your business card translated into Spanish and present it to the receptionist upon arriving for a meeting.
When in business meetings, agendas are often produced but don’t need to be followed strictly.
Spaniards prefer meeting face to face rather than talking over the phone and initial meetings may just be part of the getting to know each other phase before business commences.
It grinds our gears too, but arriving on time for meetings is considered important.
During meetings several people may speak at once and you may find yourself being interrupted. This is not rudeness but it means the interrupting party is interested.
Check you calendar
There are ten national holidays in Spain, plus additional regional holidays.
Sign up to ‘The Last Word’ today!
For regular updates of our most popular articles and translation tips!