Novi Digital Logo

Consideration for doing business in Spain

By Hilary Picken | January 8, 2019 | Doing Business Abroad

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 popularity

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.



Be polite

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.

Be relaxed

When in business meetings, agendas are often produced but don’t need to be followed strictly.

Be personable 

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.

Be punctual

It grinds our gears too, but arriving on time for meetings is considered important.

Be chatty 

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.