Doing business in Iceland
Translations into Icelandic make your negotiations easier.
When you have a meeting in Iceland, it’s usual to greet each other by means of a handshake. This happens at every occasion, when leaving as well as when arriving. It is the custom to shake everyone’s hand at the beginning and end of a meeting even, for example, with people with whom you are about to have another, separate meeting. Make sure that your handshake is firm and friendly, and make sure that you make eye contact when you do it. If you don’t, it may be interpreted as a lack of interest.
Names and business cards
It is the custom in Iceland to exchange business cards. This is not just a formality as it is in the UK, but a serious aspect of the meeting. Make sure that you take the time to look at the person’s business card and that they can see that you have put it away carefully. You can also make a good impression by taking the trouble to have your business card translated into Icelandic.
Icelanders don’t have surnames which are passed on from generation to generation as we are used to. The surname is simply the first name of the person’s father plus the word ‘son’ or ‘daughter’, so, for instance, Jan, the son of Ewald, is Jan Ewaldson. People address each other by their first name.
Icelandic people are very direct, and it is advisable to adopt the same approach. You don’t have to spend a great deal of time carefully building personal relationships as you may have to in other countries. It is a good idea to make polite small talk about the personal life and family of the person you need to talk to, of course, but you can still get down to business fairly quickly, and the same is expected of you. Small, inexpensive gifts are appreciated, particularly if they are typically British.
If you make sure that your business documents are translated into Icelandic, it’ll ensure that negotiations can proceed more smoothly. It’s also a means of making a good impression. We have a great deal of experience in the translation of all sorts of documents into and out of Icelandic. You’re also at the right place for the translation of your marketing campaign, business card, or website.
Marleen van Dijk
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