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Quick, how do you say “budget” in Spanish? How would you translate the phrase, “To Whom It May Concern”? Why is “application” not the same as “aplicación”?
There’s a difference between everyday Spanish and business Spanish!
This hands-on guide to Business Spanish is a must-have book for Hipanics and Latinos working in the U.S.
As the United States becomes a bilingual consumer economy, Hispanic and Latino professionals find that their lack of fluency in Business Spanish creates a linguistic obstacle that hinders their progress in advancing their careers.
What are the key words and phrases that everyone must know if they are to make themselves understood clearly when speaking or writingBusiness Spanish? This book provides the more than 250 words and phrases that translate into career success.
Speak BUSINESS SPANISH like an EXECUTIVE: Avoiding the Common Mistakes that Hold Latinos Back provides the necessary vocabulary that gives confidence and assures the speaker. Written with wit and in a conversational tone, the book is never condescending and always illuminating.
Consider the following entries taken from the book:
Application / Solicitud
This is undoubtedly among the most misunderstood words by Latinos when speaking business Spanish. For those of us living in the Hispanic Diaspora where people say things like, “They have to submit their completed applications before they can be considered for the position,” it’s only natural to think that the word in Spanish for “application” is “aplicación.” But in Spanish, aplicación is literal: You can apply paint to the wall or polish to your nails, but you cannot apply for employment. (Aplicación, by the way, also means a computer program.For example, Microsoft Word is the aplicación most commonly used for business writing.) The word in Spanish for application is solicitud. Why? Because when you apply for a job, you are soliciting for a position. In British English the same logic applies: One has to submit a solicitation for employment in order to be considered for that position. Make yourself well understood by others by reminding them that they are required to “llenar una solicitud para empleo” if they want to apply for employment.
Office / Oficina or Bufete or Consultorio or Despacho
“I’ll see you at my office,” is a common expression. “Fine, I’ll be there.” How do you say office in Spanish? Do you think I’m joking? Isn’t oficina Spanish for office? Yes, that’s right. Everyone knows that. In business Spanish, however, there’s a long tradition of being more specific about the nature of one’s office. Oficina means office, but it also means a workshop and the lower apartments in a building, what corresponds to the cellar in English. Of more immediate concern, Spanish still maintains the tradition of using specific names for different professions. A doctor doesn’t have an office; a doctor has a consultorio. Why? That’s where he or she gives medical consultations. Attorneys and Public Notaries work out of a bufete, since that word suggests an office designed for writing documents and storing archives. Public officials, executives and scholars work out of despachos, since that word implies offices from where orders or instructions are issued (dispatched). There’s nothing wrong with using oficina, but be mindful that you will encounter consultorio, bufete and despacho in the course of conducting business in Spanish, and you need to know the differences between them.
Support / Apoyar
“Without your support, our sales force will not be successful,” the memo, sent via e-mail on a droid, stated. OK, so it’s an impersonal pep talk, right? But these days one has to take encouragement where one finds it. And while I want to support you as much as possible in forging ahead in your career through a better understanding and command of business Spanish, I have to take a tough stand and remind you that I will be displeased if you have the nerve to tell me that support in business English is soportar in business Spanish. It is not. In Spanish, soportar means to endure, to bear, to put up with or to be forced to tolerate. (See “Put up with.”) On the other hand, in business English, support means to sustain, to maintain, to lend encouragement and to back. These ideas are conveyed by the word apoyar. Sin su apoyo, nuestro equipo de ventas no tendrá éxito, is Spanish for, Without your support, our sales force will not be successful. Be mindful that sostener also means support, but this is primarily in a non-business context. If someone is frail and they need help standing up, then you can support them, or sujetar or sostener, by physically holding them up. If your child is out of school and unemployed, it might be necessary to sostener their living expenses for the time being. In business situations, on the other hand, most kinds of support are adequately expressed in Spanish by apoyar.
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Time / Hora
It’s time for this, and it’s time for that. It’s time to sit down and work on that report. It’s time to go to the conference room for the conference call. It’s time to head to the airport. It’s time to go over the PowerPoint presentation. It’s always time for something or other in business English. Not so in Spanish! It’s never time for anything … but it’s time for the appointed hour, which has arrived! Remember that in Spanish time—tiempo—refers to the weather, or a specific period of time, such as a season, a harvest, or defined period of time with specific dates (such an epoch, a political period, a social movement, a time of warfare). As a result, in business Spanish, time is hora. It’s time for the conference to begin is translated as Es hora para que comienze la conferencia. In business, if it’s time for something, then the word to use is hora.
Imagine an entire book that explains business Spanish in such a manner.
Speak BUSINESS SPANISH like an EXECUTIVE: Avoiding the Common Mistakes that Hold Latinos Back is indispensible for Hispanics and Latinos who want to move up within their organization or in their field.
• Conversational explanations of words, phrases and their meanings
• Provides Spanish-language equivalents for technical words associated with the Internet
• Practical tips and techniques for using language to advance your career
• Wisdom from mentos for Latinos beginning or in mid-career
• Includes original research on the acceptable vernacular for Spanish as used in the U.S.
• Explores how linguistic aptitude translates to career advancement
• Offers a distinct perspective on breaking down barriers Latinos encounter
• Examines the challenges specific to Latinos encounter in the American workplace