Common Phrases to Learn for International Travel

Seasoned business travellers understand that effective communication is vital to successful partnerships and deals abroad.

While English is widely spoken, a basic understanding of the local culture is essential to avoid any awkward situations or unintentional offense towards your international colleagues or clients.

To overcome language barriers and make a positive impression on your foreign colleagues or collaborators, consider these valuable tips on essential phrases in international languages other than English.

1. "Hello" – The Power of Greetings

The word "hello" transcends cultural boundaries and is the first step towards building rapport with potential business partners. In French, say "Bonjour", in Spanish "Hola", and in Chinese "Nǐ hǎo” (pronounced knee-how). Starting a conversation with a warm and friendly greeting showcases your respect for the local culture and immediately puts the other person at ease, fostering a positive atmosphere for business negotiations.

2. “My name is” - Establishing Personal Connections

A simple introduction holds tremendous significance. Even if you can't carry on an entire conversation in their language, the effort of learning one or two words will be greatly appreciated. So, why not embrace the charm of languages and cultures by saying "Je m'appelle" in French, "Mi chiamo" in Italian, and "Mijn naam is" in Dutch? By making this effort it shows that you genuinely care about building connections that reach beyond just business transactions.

3. “Thank You" - Cultivating Gratitude

Acknowledging the efforts of your business partners in their native language is an essential part of international business etiquette. A simple "thank you" or “Shukran” (pronounced shook-ran) in Arabic goes a long way in showing appreciation for your hosts' efforts and hospitality. It also reflects positively on your company and sets the stage for potential future collaborations.

4. “Goodbye” – The Art of Farewell

When your business meetings come to an end, bidding farewell gracefully leaves a lasting impression. In German say "auf Wiedersehen" (pronounced Ouf weeder-zeh-hen). It’s a formal way of saying “To meeting again”, with a cheerful undertone, like a toast. A thoughtful farewell not only shows your appreciation for the time spent but also keeps the door open for potential future partnerships and exciting business opportunities. So, make sure to bid adieu with a touch of cultural finesse, leaving behind a memorable impression wherever your business travels take you.

Communication is key, and learning basic phrases in the local dialect can go a long way. Before embarking on your business trip, conduct some research about the country you'll be visiting. Remember, being mindful of cultural differences can enhance your business travel experience, foster stronger relationships, and open doors to new opportunities.

So, before your next trip, take the time to learn these essential phrases and prepare to make a lasting impression on your global business partners. Bon voyage!

If you would like to have your Business Travel Simplified, then speak with a member of our team on (028) 9038 9007 or email