Business Spanish


Business Spanish: Bottom Line Español 

1 (uno, one, primero, first)

The versatile cuanto
When you want to cut to the chase, and get to the bottom line, it all boils down to cúanto, how muchIf you need to know the cost of labor, it suffices to ask: ¿cuánto por cuántos? (how much for how many?) To be proper you should say: Los costos de la mano de obra. If financing costs concern you, ask: ¿Cuánto por cuánto? (How much for how much?) To be proper you should say: los costos del financiamientoTo establish a timetable for returns on your investment, the question is: ¿Cuánto por cuánto tiempo? (How much for how long?)

A student used the formula to make sure his Spanish-speaking fiancée was happy with his prenuptial agreement, contrato prenupcial. He asked her: ¿Cuanto por cuanto? A big mistake. He left himself open to the time honored tradition of regateo (bargaining).

Regateo can be upgraded to the sophisticated negociación, provided the negotiated amount, la cantidad, warrants it. Regateo is the art of knocking off five dollars from the staffed piranha souvenir. La negociación is more the art of uniones y adquisiciones (mergers and acquisitions).

2 (dos, two, segundo, second)

Money, Dinero, Is a Letter of Introduction
Here is the portrait of a father explaining the value of money to his toddler daughter: If a picture equals a thousand words, he says, el dinero es un diccionario. The toddler looks up puzzled. , insists daddy, el dinero habla (money talks). The toddler asks innocently: ¿Habla el dinero español o inglés, papa? The father gifts her a pearl of wisdom: El dinero es políglota, mi amor, habla todos los idiomas (all languages).

Naturally dinero abounds in synonyms. We have plata, silver, lana, wool, guita, dough-used in Argentina, cuartos, old Spanish denomination, used in The Dominican Republic, efectivo, cash,moneda, coins and currency, billetes, bill notes, falsificados, counterfeited.

A student, a financial reporter, ventured to the streets of a Latin American capital to get a feeling for the exchange climate. She asked:
¿A cómo está el cambio? (What’s the exchange rate?)
She was astonished by the options she was offered.
La tasa (rate), said the street broker, was veinte (20) por dólar real and cinco (5) por dólar falsificado.

3 (tres, tercero)

Ten Essentials
  1. Comercio is both trade and a business establishment. The adjective is comercial (stress on the last syllable.)
  2. Empresario/a, business man or woman. Also hombre (man) o mujer (woman) de negocios. Unlike impresario, un empresario is not engaged exclusively in showbiz. Related are empresa, enterprise, and emprenderdor, enterprising, entrepreneur.
  3. Ejecutivo/a, a ranking officer with a corporation (sociedad, sociedad anónima, compañía, corporación.) 
  4. Negocios is business. The singular form, un negocio, is a business establishment or a deal. There are many types of businesses, here are four that count: un buen negocio, un mal negocio, un negocio seguro y un negocio redondo, good, bad, a sure thing, and a win-win situation. Related expressions: Proponer un negocio, to propose a business deal; hablar de negocios, to discuss a business proposition; and cerrar el negocio, to close a deal.
  5. La bolsa de valores is the stock market. Related vocabulary: la compra, purchase; venta, placement, selling; acciones, stock; bonos, bonds; and valores, securities. La junta de accionistas, Board of Stock Holders. Los estados financieros, Quarterly Reports, which can be positivos, negativos o adulterados, doctored.
  6. La inversión is investment. Inversionista, investor.
  7. Las ganancias are profits. Also beneficios and rentas.
  8. Las pérdidas are losses, which can result in los informes trimestrales negativos, negative quarterly reports; mala prensa, negative media coverage; recortes, cuts, streamlining; despidos, firings, lay offs; bancarrota, bankruptcy; terapia prolongada, lengthy therapy; and costosos honorarios jurídicos, costly legal fees.
  9. Un triunfador is a successful businessman.
  10. Un perdedor is a looser, analogous to pobre diablo, a poor devil.

4 (cuatro, cuarto)

For How Much?
A clarifying note on the usage of stocks: La acción also means action. By inquiring ¿cuánto cuesta la acción? you are asking how much for the stock not how much for some action.

But if you are looking for action, a student raised his hand and asked: What do you ask?

His question led to interrogative clauses, to the essential criminal jurisprudence hexameter: cuál es el crimen, dónde ocurrió, quién lo realizó, cuándo, con quién, con qué, cómo y por qué, what, where, when, who did it, with whom, with what, how and why. To which we must add, in symmetry’s name, por cuánto, for how much.

My student was not taking my changing the subject, cambio de conversación, for an answer, and tactfully pressed on, paraphrasing: If you are, indeed, looking for action, is cuánto por cuánto a fair question? 

It was a Business Spanish course, una clase de español de negocios, I reminded the student. 
So is the oldest profession, he insisted.
I gave up. Si, you could ask,  ¿cuánto por cuánto? 

5 (cinco, quinto)

Profiles In Self-Assuredness
Introductions while networking, haciendo conexiones, or at the racquet club require, excuse the redundancy, résumé synthesis:
Una licenciatura en negocios is a bachelor’s in business.
Una maestría en finanzas is a master’s in finance.
Un doctorado en contabilidad creativa is a PhD. in creative accounting.

To highlight your skills, you can casually mention that your outstanding, sobresalientes, attributes are visión, capacidad y voluntad de hierro, iron will. Then add your career highlights: Gerente de ventas, Sales Manager.
Vicepresidente de mercadeo, Vicepresident of Marketing.
Principal de finanzas, Chief Financial Officer.
Presidente, CEO.

6 (seis, sexto)

Hobbies & Eccentricities
Hobbies, pasatiempos, can be so telling that one could say, proverbially: Tell me how you occupy your spare time and I will tell you who you are. The gamut for executive hobbies is diverse: golf, tenis, ajedrez (chess), and charity and philanthropy, la caridad y la filantropía, landscape painting,la pintura de paisajes, the quest for the perfect barbeque sauce, la búsqueda de la salsa perfecta barbacoa, and the most imperial, practicing German with one’s horse.

Ese es mi pasatiempo, said a student, a Chief Financial Officer with a Fortune 100 conglomerate, I do speak German to my horse, yo hablo español con mi caballo, and he shared the story of Charles V, the Austrian king of Spain, who spoke Spanish to God, Dios; Italian to women; French for business and German, alemán, to his horse.


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