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The language of business how fluent are you?

by Lingo24, 14th November, 2004

In an increasingly global marketplace, it’s high time that UK exporters realised the importance of translating or localising their sales websites into foreign languages. We have found a quick test to ascertain readers’ current level of expertise in European “commercial-speak”.

Foreign languages and business culture can be major headaches for British exporters, yet surprisingly few companies employ in-house linguists and many have no system in place to deal with commercial enquiries in a foreign language. Of course, many British export managers claim that most business is conducted in English anyway. However, in the current global market such a myopic approach to international trade could cost them more than they think. For today the power of the Internet can allow exporters to reach previously unattainable customers in far-flung parts of the globe, and businesses who have had the foresight to have their website translated into the languages spoken in their target marketplaces or – better still – “localized” (translated AND culturally adapted), are reaping the benefits big-time.

To see how you measure up when it comes to foreign languages, why not have a go at the following quick multi-lingual quiz, first published in an edition of Director magazine.


Donnez-moi vos coordonnés et je vous l’envoie tout de suite.
1. Tell me your address and I will send you a whole set.
2. Give me your details and I will get it to you at once.
3. Give me your tailor’s address: I envy you your suit.
4. Let’s co-ordinate this and I’ll send you the whole suite.

Nous respectons toujours les délais de livraison.
1. We always respect delivery delays.
2. We carry out our deliveries by relay.
3. We always meet our delivery dates.
4. We have late deliveries every day.


Wir liefern frei Haus innerhalb Englands.
1. We deliver free houses in England.
2. We run free houses in England.
3. We ran free around England.
4. We do free delivery within England.

Bei dieser Menge kann ich Ihnen einen guten Rabatt anbieten.
1. I can offer a good discount on that quantity.
2. In a place like that you can always find your way.
3. Would you like some good rabbit in that mixture?
4. I can get you a good rebate.


Les presento un equipo muy competente.
1. Let me present you with a very competitive piece of equipment.
2. I’d like to give you a very competent piece of equipment.
3. I’d like to introduce a very fine piece of equipment.
4. Let me introduce you to a very competent team.

Vamos a aprobar el acta de la reunión anterior.
1. We approve of the actions of the previous board.
2. Let us approve the minutes of the last meeting.
3. We are going to test the actions of the last meeting.
4. Let’s go and act out the previous reunion.


French 2,3 German 4,1 Spanish 4,2


Lingo24 is a global translation company, with interests in marketing, e-commerce, product management and many other areas that are of relevance to our clients. We share news on our company performance, innovative technology solutions, exciting new hires and guest posts from some of our translators.

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