One word for one world
One word for one world

Doing business in Austria

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Our translation agency has provided you with tips for doing business in Austria.

If you want to start doing business abroad, it’s important to be aware of the business etiquette of the country in which you want to do business. It speaks for itself that with countries on the other side of the world, you need to build up a level of information about them because you know that things there will be different from what you are used to. This can be just as true closer to home, however, where you may also be confronted with different customs and methods of doing things. What’s it like in Austria, for instance? We have some tips for you with which you can get started.

Invest in personal contact

Personal relationships are very important in Austria and people are generally cautious about entering into business relationships. When you first start trying to do business in Austria, it is very important to invest in developing personal contacts. Don’t talk about business at the first couple of meetings unless the person you are speaking to does so. Show interest in their life, family, friends, and work. When a relationship has been established and you’ve reached the stage at which business can be discussed, you are still expected to show yourself regularly and, vice versa, to receive your business partner.

Formal attitude

Austrians are very formal, particularly on business occasions. It is therefore important to ensure that you are always dressed formally for business appointments. This means a dark suit with matching tie for men and similarly formal business attire for women. It is also important to use the formal rather than the informal ‘you’ in German. Let the person you are talking to suggest using the informal term rather than you asking yourself. Address the person you are talking to as ‘herr’ or ‘frau’ and make sure that you are also addressed in the same way. Do not tell the person you are talking to that they should address you by your first name, unless the person you are speaking to suggests it by using their first name.

The meeting and the business card

Lunch is an excellent opportunity for a business meeting. Austrians consider lunch to be very important and will always interrupt the day to eat calmly, often outside of the place of work. Be aware that an appointment on a Friday afternoon will be practically impossible. Many Austrians go home after lunch on Friday or only stay at work to finish off something before the weekend.
Business cards are often exchanged after the first meeting. Business cards in German are appreciated. Make sure that the card provides your name and your position in your company. It is the custom to give a card to everyone who is present at a business meeting.

The language

The most frequently spoken language in Austria is German, but a segment of the population also speaks Croatian, Hungarian, or Slovenian. Official documents and daily correspondence are always in German, however. Foreign companies are expected to do the same.
We will be happy to help you with your translations out of, and into, Austrian Standard German. Whether it’s a medical, technical, legal, or commercial text, we have just the right specialists in-house. All our translators are native German speakers.

Seija Smets
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