in Language & Culture

As a multinational organization specializing in localization, the effects and importance of understanding different cultural practices during business exchanges hits us twofold! For today’s Straight from the Source, we asked a few members of the CSOFT team to share some insight into cultural differences in business etiquette in their home country or in a country they have previously worked. Multinational Organizations and Localization go hand in hand when supporting workers and business around the world.

Multinational Organizations and Localization: Business Etiquettes

What are some cultural differences for Multinational Organizations to remember when doing business in another country?

Steve compares business etiquette in French Canada and France:
In French Canada, it is okay to talk about casual topics with other colleagues, such as asking about family, the kids, travel, etc., but in the first few meetings, people should address one another very politely by using formal speech.

Business in France is much more stringent. Personal matters should not be brought up or inquired about. In Canada, similar to the US, I would do business with you because you are my friend. In France, business is business, and should not be mixed with personal affairs.

Wally says of business etiquette in Ireland:
The Irish love to talk about the weather; it is a great and common way to begin a conversation. Eye contact is also quite important to maintain when speaking with others.

Although business dinners are quite common, for the most part, meals are for enjoyment and relaxation in Ireland. When going for drinks, it is typical for each person to buy a round of drinks for everyone in the group.

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In China, Serena says:
In China, business cards should be given and received with both hands as a sign of respect. When you have a business meeting over dinner, don’t talk about business until the host brings it up. And be prepared to eat, and drink, a lot!

Chiara, Alice, and Diego discuss business in Italy:
Formal meetings for business discussions is routine, of course, but it is also the norm to meet over lunch, dinner, or a coffee shop to talk about the details of a business exchange or deal. Signing contracts and cementing deals are never done over a plate of spaghetti, though!

Gifts are seasonal; it’s a common sight to see Christmas baskets sent to various clients around Christmas time. It’s a way of maintaining a relationship and offering goodwill.

In Germany, Tina says:
People always greet with a handshake. Business dinners are commonplace, and it is also customary to fight over who pays the bill. In the end, though, it should usually be the person or party trying to sell their products or services.

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  1. I find this sort of stuff fascinating but terrifying – so many different approaches and expectations.

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