Business Spanish Vocabulary: The Complete Guide (with 70+ Essential Terms)
Knowing Spanish business vocabulary won’t just make you sound like a professional. It’ll also help you stay confident during all types of exchanges.
If you’re considering learning Spanish for business, you should! Over 500 million people speak Spanish globally, and the Hispanic population of the United States alone has grown 60% in the last decade.
Plus, several of the 20 Spanish-speaking countries—like Argentina, Chile and Peru—are major players in the global economy.
In this post, you’ll learn over 70 must-know business Spanish vocabulary words, plus seven tips for sounding like a professional.
- 4 Important Facts About Business Spanish
- Key Spanish Business Vocabulary
- 7 Tips to Improve Your Business Spanish and Sound Professional
- And One More Thing…
4 Important Facts About Business Spanish
- In the United States, bilingual speakers earn $7,000 more than monolingual speakers. With a mere 10% of the American population speaking a second language, it’s time you invested in your business Spanish!
- In Latin America and Spain, the digital age and email haven’t got as tight a grip as they do in North America. In many areas, face-to-face communication still takes precedence over digital communication.
- Enchufismo—or the enchufe phenomenon (pulling strings for friends and family to gain competitive advantage in obtaining jobs)—is still quite rampant in the Spanish-speaking world despite all the negative press this practice has been getting lately.
- Considering the importance of face-to-face communication in Hispanic culture, Spanish-speaking employers and businesses will be overjoyed when non-native speakers put the time and effort into learning business in Spanish. Simply putting forth the effort to properly say “hola, es un placer conocerle” (Hello, it is a pleasure to meet you) with a firm handshake hace que tu primera impresión sea duradera (makes a long-lasting first impression).
Key Spanish Business Vocabulary
Basic Spanish Business Vocabulary
These are the most common Spanish words in a business or workplace environment.
(a) — Boss
2. Director (a) — Director
3. Empresa / Compañía — Company
4. Reunión — Meeting
5. Negocios — Business deals
6. Contrato laboral — Work contract
7. Mercado — Market
8. Personal — Company staff
9. Acuerdo — A work agreement
10. Oficina / Despacho (primarily in Spain) — Office
Spanish Work Contract Vocabulary
1. Estar contratado
(a) — To have a contract
2. Jornada completa o parcial — Full-time or part-time schedule
3. Contrato fijo / Contrato indefinido — A permanent work contract
4. Contrato temporal — A temporary or short-term work contract
5. Prácticas — Internship
6. Curriculum vitae — CV, resume
7. Carta de presentación — Cover letter
Here are a few example sentences to help you see these words in context:
- Se incorpora en la empresa con un contrato temporal de 6 meses. — You are hired into the company on an initial 6-month short-term work contract).
- Los contratos fijos están desapareciendo. — Permanent work contracts are becoming less common.
- Hacer prácticas con el fin de obtener un contrato indefinido. — Internship with the possibility of future full-time employment.
Spanish Vocabulary for Trade Careers
2. Beneficio — Profit
3. Bolsa — The stock-exchange
4. Compra — Purchase
5. Dinero — Money
6. Exportador / Importador — Exporter/Importer
7. Fabricante — Manufacturer
8. Demanda — Demand
9. Ahorros — Savings
10. Acción — Share
A few examples:
- La comercialización de nuestro producto es de alta prioridad. — Marketing our product is of top priority.
- La empresa ha tenido un año fiscal de bajo beneficio. — The company has had little profits this fiscal year.
- La demanda está vinculada a la oferta. — Demand is linked to supply.
Want to see how people in trade careers actually communicate in their daily lives? Despite being a dramatization, this video has tons of examples of how to use Spanish business terminology (while scheming your way through the stock market):
Spanish Vocabulary for English Teaching Careers
Enseñanza de Idiomas (Language Instruction)
1. Academia de idiomas
/ Escuela de idioma
— Language school
2. Profesor (a) / Maestro (a) — Teacher (at any level)
3. Catedrático — University teacher/professor
4. Alumno / Estudiante — Student
5. Universitario — University student
6. Aula — Classroom
7. Curso — School year
8. Asignatura — Subject
9. Lección — Lesson
10. Ministerio de educación — Ministry of education
11. Tutoría — Tutoring
12. Clases particulares / Clases privadas / Clases extra — Private language classes
Here are a few examples:
- La academia busca profesores nativos de inglés para dar clases de idioma. — The language school is hiring native English speakers to give language classes.
- El ministerio de educación está reclutando. — The Ministry of Education is recruiting.
- Se puede ganar bastante dando clases particulares. — You can make quite a bit of money giving private language classes.
Spanish Vocabulary for Tourism Careers
1. Cadena de hoteles
— Hotel chain
2. Viaje de ida y vuelta — Round-trip flight
3. Lista de espera — Waiting list
4. Recepción — Reception
5. Temporada baja / Temporada alta — Low/high-season
6. Folleto — Informative brochure/leaflet
7. Tarjeta comercial / Tarjeta de negocios — Business card
8. Agente de viajes — Travel agent
9. Agencia de viajes / Empresa de viajes — Travel agency
10. Libro de reclamaciones / Hoja de reclamaciones — Customer complaint book
Let’s look at some examples:
- La cadena de hoteles ofrece trabajo a gente con formación de hostelería. — The hotel chain is hiring people with training in hospitality.
- La jefa me dio su contacto y tarjeta comercial. — The boss left me her contact information and business card.
- La empresa de viajes busca contratar a agentes de viajes bilingües. — The travel agency is looking to hire bilingual travel agents.
Spanish Vocabulary for Writing Emails and Letters
1. A quién corresponda
— To whom it may concern
2. Señoras y señores — Ladies and gentlemen
3. Estimados (as) — Dear respected people
4. Estimado señor (Estimada señora) — Dear respected sir or madam
5. Querido señor… (Querida señora…) — Dear respected sir or madam
6. Colegas — Colleagues (This may be proceeded by Queridos(as) o Estimados(as) for added warmth)
7. Espero que este mensaje le encuentre bien — I hope this message finds you well
8. Espero que esté todo bien — I hope all is well
9. Espero que haya estado bien — I do hope you’ve been well
10. Gracias por su respuesta — Thank you for your response
11. Me disculpo por no haber mandado este mensaje antes — Apologies for not having sent this message sooner
12. Fue un placer verle la semana pasada — It was a pleasure to see you last week
13. Me alegra poder colaborar — I am happy to be able to collaborate
14. Les quisiera apoyar — I would like to support you all
15. Estaría muy agredecido si pudiera… — I would be very grateful if you could…
16. Tan pronto como sea posible — ASAP
17. He adjuntado el documento pedido a este mensaje — I have attached the requested document to this message
18. No dude en contactarme por cualquier cosa — Don’t hesitate to contact me for anything
19. Espero su respuesta — I await your response
20. Atentamente — Attentively
21. Sinceramente — Sincerely
22. Respetuosamente — Respectfully
23. Gracias y saludos — Thanks and greetings
24. Saludos — Greetings
25. Un cordial saludo — A cordial greeting
If you want to dive deeper into writing emails in Spanish, check out our in-depth guide here.
7 Tips to Improve Your Business Spanish and Sound Professional
Now that you know the most important Spanish business words, follow these seven tips to sound like a seasoned professional and to continue learning Spanish vocabulary related to your field.
1. Keep up to date and continue learning
- Stay in the loop on current events and politics. Watch the news and listen to political and economic debates and speeches, especially by heads of state or economic ministers. You won’t understand everything, but don’t let that put you off, as your pronunciation and vocabulary acquisition will improve by leaps and bounds through these types of news videos and discussions.
- Read one newspaper article in the business section daily. Write down one new word daily and the sentence that used it. By the end of the week, you’ll have seven new phrases—that’s 28 monthly! El País and El Mundo are the two most widely-read newspapers in Spanish-speaking countries, so I recommend starting there. For more news resources, check out our post here.
- Focus on your industry. Read the websites of companies working in your industry. You can start by reading the pages in English and then in Spanish, or put them side-by-side and read them simultaneously! Lucky for English speakers, most Spanish-speaking companies have their company information translated into English. Check out these companies that work in energy, engineering and teaching.
2. Rehearse with other people
Do live mock interviews with Spanish-speaking friends to fill in fluency and vocabulary gaps. As you progress, jot down key phrases that fit how you express yourself to avoid sounding like a robot.
If you don’t have any local Spanish-speaking friends, it’s time to find yourself a conversation partner, one of the most practical and fun methods of live language learning.
In the meantime, check out this video to see a live interview in Spanish.
3. Write up a short introductory email
In business, it’s essential to have a template introductory email you can use when selling a product or applying for a job.
Below is a simple text I’ve used many times in my emails to employers. Save it, use it and adapt it to cubrir tus necesidades (cover your specific needs).
Deseo solicitar el puesto de (insert desired position) en (insert company name). Creo que tengo un perfil adecuado que podría encajar muy bien en su empresa. Le adjunto en archivo PDF mi CV, además de mi carta de presentación. Si quisiera usted ponerse en contacto conmigo, me podría llamar por teléfono al número (insert local phone number) o enviar un correo electrónico a mi dirección: (insert email address). Quedo a la espera de sus noticias.
(Your Full Name)
I would like to apply for the (position) in your (company/institution name). I strongly believe I have the professional experience relevant to your company/job offer. Please find my CV and cover letter attached in PDF format. If you would like to contact me, you can reach me at (phone number) or send an email to (email address). I look forward to hearing from you.
(Your Full Name)
4. Set aside time to study on your own after work
As this type of advanced Spanish vocabulary doesn’t always come up in day-to-day conversations, you need to set time to use it on your own.
There are plenty of resources to help you: books, videos, online materials and learning tools like quizzes and flashcards.
For example, FluentU lets you learn Spanish through videos with interactive subtitles—meaning you can watch advanced-level business content designed for native speakers. FluentU has an entire “business” category for videos about careers in business, etiquette, advice from business owners and more.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
5. Explain yourself clearly
- Be friendly! It is considered extremely rude not to extend a friendly greeting such as “Buenos días” or “¡Hola, muy buenos días!” Be sure to respectfully address your conversation partner with their professional title or “señor(a).”
- Know how to sell yourself. Introduce yourself with your title and affiliation to your company or organization. “Me llamo Maureen y soy coordinadora científica para la ONG Fundación Runa, basada en Archidona.” Well, actually, this is not quite my go-to introduction. One key alteration brings me to my next point.
- Consider a name change. If your name is utterly impossible to pronounce in Spanish, forget your pride—change that sucker. The abundance of vowels and alien pronunciation of my name made it not only challenging to say, but also impossible for people to remember.
6. Know the etiquette of the country you’re visiting
- Use the appropriate formalities. Many professionals prefer to be addressed by their professional title. Doctor(a) may be used to address people with master’s or doctorate degrees, any teacher from pre-K to university-level may go by profesor(a) and you can refer to technical workers as ingeniero. Regardless of their position or title, you should address anyone you work with using usted and the third person.
- There’s no word for “now.” Keep a thrilling Spanish book, some great tunes or a Spanish language learning app on hand whenever you’re preparing for a meeting. Always anticipate waiting time, and don’t worry if they invite you into their office 20 minutes (or 1 hour) late. You’ll often hear disculpe la demora (sorry for the delay) when your business partner pops in a tad late or completes a task behind schedule. This phrase is demanded by etiquette—even when lateness is expected.
- Warm country mentality is real. People want to please you. In Latin America, the general warmth of many countries’ cultures will compel people to soften the truth—or lie blatantly—so you don’t feel bad. Coworkers may tell you that a project is progressing excellently (when they haven’t started it), or clients may say they love your product (and never come back). You can avoid this to some degree by assuring people that you want honest opinions and information. It’s also helpful to follow “the rule of 3’s”—ask three people and take the average response as correct.
- Confirm everything, twice. People may not show up on time, or at all, if you don’t get confirmation. If you set an appointment one week in advance, call the day before to confirm participation.
7. Practice making business phone calls in Spanish
Here are a few tips for sounding like a true professional over the phone:
- Make it snappy. One quick line should be enough to explain who you are and what’s up. For example, “Muy buenos días. Habla Marina de la ONG Fundación Runa. ¿Me puede comunicar con la ingeniera María González Vázquez?”
- Be firm. Explain what you want clearly and indicate your level of urgency. If you want anything done over the phone, be straight to the point and sound serious.
- Figure out the saldo situation. In Latin America, many professionals (and clients, collaborators, etc.) use pay-as-you-go phone credit. They might buy $1, $3 or $10 at a time—but everyone runs out sooner or later. Some people will avoid making phone calls for hours or days, and use this as an excuse after the fact. Others will avoid calling people using different phone networks simply because calling between providers costs extra. Certain well-prepared individuals have two phones, one for each network provider.
- Tell people which network provider you use when giving out your digits. When you get someone’s phone number, ensure you get them all. Then, if someone who’s supposed to be calling hasn’t called you, don’t be shy about giving them a ring—they might just be out of saldo!
Congratulations: you’re well on your way to becoming a business Spanish expert!
Trust in your knowledge of business Spanish vocabulary and customs, and feel the confidence to ponerte las pilas (get yourself going) on your way to your next entrevista de trabajo (job interview).
Not only will you be a business pro, but you’ll be a bilingual one to boot!
And One More Thing…
If you've made it this far that means you probably enjoy learning Spanish with engaging material and will then love FluentU.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning with the same video.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)