12 Phrases to Know for Doing Business in Spanish

While Chinese may be the language with the most speakers, Spanish is arguably the most widely spoken language around the globe. Large swaths of the world not only use Spanish as their native language, but bring the tongue with them when they migrate to nations like the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere. In fact, there are more Spanish speakers in the U.S. than in Spain, and the country is set to overtake Mexico in sheer number of speakers by 2050!

It’s obvious from its popularity that Spanish is the language you need to know, and if you haven’t started learning it yet, you should at least be seriously considering it. Spanish is incredibly useful for business and can open up a great number of opportunities for you that people who only speak English will never have. So, whether you’re in the process of learning Spanish, or still haven’t taken that leap, these 12 business-related phrases will help to get you by, regardless of your level or situation!

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1. La reunión es a las… (The meeting is at…)

Reuniónes (meetings) are a big part of any business environment and this is a key phrase to know when you’re filling up your schedule with one meeting after another.

2. Estoy en ello. (I’m on it.)

We all know the business world can be a fast-paced, cutthroat place, so make sure you know how to inform your Spanish-speaking colleagues that you’re on top of things (even when you’re not).

3. Necesito ayuda, por favor. (I need help, please.)

While sometimes you need to fake it ‘til you make it, there are other times where asking for help is an absolute necessity. Be extra polite about it by tacking that por favor on the end, you won’t regret it!

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4. Enviar un correo electrónico. (Send an e-mail.)

The majority of communication and correspondence, inside and outside the business world, happens online. While Enviar un correo electrónico is technically the proper way to say Send an e-mail, you can remove electrónico so you’ll sound more like a native-speaker.

5. Perder el tiempo. (Waste time.)

While it’s possible to perder el tiempo in meetings, try to keep the water cooler gossip to a minimum if you don’t want people to think you’re intentionally perdiendo el tiempo.

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6. La sala de juntas. (The meeting room.)

Kinda hard to work in an office without la sala de juntas coming up every once in a while. In fact, most of your reuniones will probably happen here!

7. Tiene experiencia en estas cosas. (He/she has experience with these things.)

It’s good to be familiar with which of your colleagues are in the know about what. After all, when you’re asking for ayuda (help), you’ll want to seek out the most experienced person, right?

8. ¿Puede decirle al jefe que estoy enfermo y que no podré venir hoy? (Can you tell the boss I’m sick and can’t come in today?)

We all need our sick/personal days, and we all need a good phrase to call the boss up with when we’re not feeling up to par. Even better, you’ll impress your Spanish-speaking boss if you let him or her know in their native tongue!

9. Estoy trabajando a tope. (I’m working full-out.)

This is a good one to have handy for when you’re feeling overwhelmed by too much work. Look at it as a polite way to say ‘Enough already!’.

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10. Me pongo en ello ahora. (I’ll get to it right now.)

Got a looming deadline that requires you put everything else aside? This phrase lets your colleagues know that your priority is the task at hand. Or it could simply be a way to get someone off your back when they keep asking you to do something.

11. La comercialización es de alta prioridad. (Marketing is a top priority.)

Throwing this one out there if you only have a basic knowledge of Spanish might be odd, but if you’re at a conversational level it’s a great phrase to know for the workplace. You’ll sound oh-so knowledgeable when you use it.

12. Contrato fijo/indefinido. (Permanent work contract.)

Every job requires a fair amount of negotiation, and you want to come to the table knowing how to get what you want. A contrato fijo/indefinido is permanent, while a contrato temporal means you’ll be on board on a temporary basis.

Do you know any key business words and phrases? Share them with us in the comments section.

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