As a small business the odds are that you will at some point wish to start trading overseas. The import/export market is vast and it would be impossible to learn every dialect of every language across the globe. However, one thing is certain. Even if your customer or client speaks perfect English, at least an attempt to exchange pleasantries in their native language will pave the way for a successful discussion.

As a small business odds are that you will at some point wish to start trading overseas. The import/export market is vast and it would be impossible to learn every dialect of every language across the globe. However, one thing is certain. Even if your customer or client speaks perfect English, at least an attempt to exchange pleasantries in their native language will pave the way for a successful onward discussion.

Here, in the first of a new series, we offer a selection of exchanges in a variety of languages from the four corners of the globe. If your host smiles at your attempt, it is unlikely that they are offended, merely amused at your pronunciation. Don’t be put off, even a carefully practiced "Good morning" will hold you in good stead. Where there are unusual accents on particular words, it's best to try anyway. The native speaker will usually understand you.

Brazil

Hello - Olá
Goodbye - Adeus
Good Morning - Boa manhã
Good afternoon - Boa tarde
Good evening - Boa noite
My name is John Smith - Meu nome é John Smith
May I please speak with Señor Pérez - Por favor posso falar com sr. Pérez?
Thank-you for meeting with us - Obrigado por encontrar comigo / nós
I believe we will work well together - Acredito que trabalharemos bem em conjunto
I would like to learn more about your business - Eu gostaria de aprender mais sobre o seu negócio
I hope we can negotiate a contract - Espero que possamos negociar um contrato
I will be in touch - Estarei no toque
Can we organise another meeting? - Podemos organizar outra reunião?

France

Hello - Salut
Goodbye - Au revoir
Good morning - Bonjour
Good afternoon - Bonjour
Good evening - Bonsoir
My name is John Smith – Je m’apelle John Smith
May I please speak with Mr Henri Pascal? - Puis-je parler avec M. Henri Pascal s'il vous plaît ?
Thank-you for meeting with me/us - Merci d’etre venu
I believe we will work well together - Je crois que nous travaillerons bien ensemble
I would like to learn more about your business – J’aimerai apprendre plus sur votre entreprise
I hope we can negotiate a contract - J'espère que nous pouvons négocier un contrat
I will be in touch – Je vous contacterai bientot
May we organise another meeting? - Pouvons-nous organiser une autre rencontre?

Iceland

Hello - Halló
Goodbye - Bless
Good morning - Góðan dag
Good afternoon - Góðan dag
Good evening - Gott kvöld
My Name is John Smith - Ég heiti John Smith
Please may I speak with Mr Helgarson? - Get ég vinsamlegast fengið að tala við Helgason?
Thank you for meeting with me/us - Takk fyrir að hitta mig/okkur
I believe we will work well together - Ég tel að við munum vinna vel saman
I would like to learn more about your business - Gætir þú sagt mér aðeins meira um starfsemi ykkar?
I hope we can negotiate a contract - Ég vona að við getum samið
I will be in touch - Ég mun vera í sambandi
Can we organise another meeting? - Getum við skipulagt annan fund?

Japan

Hello - Konnichiwa
Goodbye - Sayonara
Good morning - Ohayogozaimasu
Good afternoon- Konnichiwa
Good evening - Kombanwa
My name is Mr Brown - Watashi no namae wa Brown desu
Please may I speak with Mr Kobayashi? - Kobayashi-san onegai-shimasu
Thank you for meeting with me / us - Oai itadaki arigato gozaimasu
I believe we will work well together – Tomoni yoi shigoto ga dekiruto shinjite imasu
I would like to learn more about your business – Anata no business ni tsuite motto manabitai desu
I hope we can negotiate a contract – Keiyaku no ohanashi ga dekirukotowo negatte imasu
Thank-you. I will be in touch – Mata gorennraku shimasu
Can we organise another meeting? – Mata meeting no kikai wo motemasuka?

Kenya

Good afternoon - Habari
Good evening - Heri
My name is Mr John Smith - Jina langu ni John Smith
Please may I speak with Mr Solanji - Tafadhali naomba kuongea na Mr Solanji
Thank you for meeting with me/us - Asante kwa kukutana na mimi/sisi
I believe we will work well together - Naamini sisi kazi vizuri pamoja
I would like to learn more about your business - Napenda kujifunza zaidi kuhusu biashara yako
I hope we can negotiate a contract - Nadhani tunaweza kujadili mkataba
I will be in touch - Nitakuwa katika kugusa
May we organise another meeting? - Je, tunaweza kuandaa mkutano mwingine?

Poland

Hello – Cześć
Goodbye – Do widzenia
Good morning – Dzień dobry
Good afternoon – Dzień dobry
Good evening – Dobry wieczór
My name is John Smith – Nazywam sie John Smith
Please may I speak with Mr Nowakowski? – Czy mogę rozmawiać z panem Nowakowskim?
Thank you for meeting with me/us – Dziękuję za nasze spotkanie
I believe we will work well together – Wierzę, że nasza współpraca będzie pomyślna
I would like to learn more about your business – Chciałbym dowiedzieć się więcej o twojej firmie
I hope we can negotiate a contract – Mam nadzieję, że możemy negocjować naszą umowę
I will be in touch – Będę w kontakcie
Can we organise another meeting? – Czy możemy umówić się na kolejne spotkanie?


South Africa

Hello - Hallo
Goodbye - Goodbye
Good morning - Goeie môre
Good afternoon - Goeie middag
Good evening - Goeienaand
My name is John Smith - My naam is John Smith
Please may I speak with Mr van Deer? - Kan ek praat met meneer van Deer?
Thank you for meeting with me/us - Dankie vir die byeenkoms saam met my/ons
I believe we will work well together - Ek glo ons sal goed saam te werk
I would like to learn more about your business - Ek wil graag meer inligting oor jou besigheid te leer
I hope we can negotiate a contract - Ek hoop ons kan 'n kontrak onderhandel
I will be in touch - Ek sal in kontak
Can we organise another meeting? - Kan ons 'n ander vergadering te organiseer?

Thailand

Hello - sawatdee khap/ka
Goodbye - sawatdee khap/ka
Good morning - sawatdee khap/ka
Good afternoon - sawatdee khap/ka
Good evening - sawatdee khap/ka
My name is John Smith - Pom chew Khun John khap
Please may I speak with Mr. Noy Limthongkul? - Khor phuud gab khun Noy khap
Thank you for meeting with me / us - Kop khun krup tee ma pob pom / rao
I believe we will work well together - Pom cheua wa rao ja tam ngaan deuay gan dai pen yang dee
I would like to learn more about your business - Pom yak ja rian roo kiew kap turakit kong khun mak kwa nee
I hope we can negotiate a contract - Pom wang wa rao jaa taw rong sanya kan dai
I will be in touch - Pom ja tit taw klap ma ha khun
Can we organise another meeting? - Roa ja nud pob kan eek krang dai mai krup