One word for one world
One word for one world

Doing business in Indonesia

Two men shaking hands in the background with a clipboard in front

Translations into Indonesian help you do business successfully in Indonesia.

Doing business in another country involves a great deal of work. Not only are there practical matters to be taken into consideration, but you often have to learn about the business culture in that country. Indonesian business culture differs considerably from that of the UK. If you want to do business in Indonesia, we have put together a few tips to help you on your way.

Don’t be too direct

While it is customary in the UK to make some small talk, in Indonesia, they take it to another level. In the Indonesian business world, it is customary to get to know each other better personally before getting down to business. It is therefore a good idea to invest time and effort in this. For the first few meetings, go out to eat together somewhere or seek another form of relaxation. Let your potential client take the initiative when it comes to starting a conversation about business. Even business conversations generally begin with personal chit-chat. Ask politely about your potential client’s personal life and about the country. Show that you are interested in Indonesia. Never refuse invitations to social events, dinners, etc, as these are often the occasions in which the most business gets done.


People are very formal in Indonesia so it’s very important that you take this into account when it comes to your own behaviour and choice of clothing. As a business man or woman, you will be expected to dress formally and soberly. The exchange of business cards is also very important. A business card that is printed in English on one side and Indonesian on the other is certain to make a good impression. You always give and take cards with your right hand as the left hand is regarded as unclean.

Physical contact and feet

Whereas the British don’t have a reputation for making physical contact, Indonesians are even less so inclined. The only physical contact that takes place is when shaking hands. Make sure that you keep both feet on the ground and never rest one foot on the other knee. Pointing your foot at someone can be interpreted as being an insult.

The language

The official national language is Indonesian. This is taught in all schools, spoken by most Indonesians, and used for all official documents.

Our agency specialises in translating into and from Indonesian. We will be happy to be of service to you with the translation of your business documents, marketing campaigns, websites, and more.

Leo Kok
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