The Best Italian Business Phrases You Need to Know

Dont be silent in the office
Don't be silent in the office | © Free-Photos / Pixabay

So, you’ve moved to Italy, got to grips with the language and, incredibly, landed your dream job – bravi. The Italian office, however, is a whole new world; filled with strange vocabulary, unique terminology and unfamiliar customs. Get down to business and start climbing the career ladder with these essential phrases.

Scusa sono in ritardo, c’è uno sciopero.

‘Sorry I’m late, there’s a strike’. It’s hard to be on time in Italy and, sooner or later, there will be picket lines instead of public transport. Don’t sweat it too much, but do have the decency to apologise.

È un piacere conoscerla. Potrei avere il suo biglietto da visita?

‘It’s a pleasure to meet you. Could I have your business card?’ Remember to use the formal ‘Lei’ when meeting colleagues and business contacts, especially for the first time. You can use the informal ‘tu’ once you’ve gotten to know them a little better, or for co-workers on the same level.

Pingami quando sei pronto per la riunione?

‘Will you ping me when you’re ready for the meeting?’ Just like English speakers are familiar with words like barista or graffiti, the Italian language has also been infiltrated by words from overseas. Use the verb pingare to mean ‘notify’ or ‘message’.

Mi piacerebbe prendere una settimana di ferie ad Agosto.

‘I’d like to take a week off in August’. Many Italian offices shut down completely for two weeks in August, so the boss may have already planned your vacation days for you. It’s worth checking.

Facciamo un allineamento dopo un caffè.

‘Let’s have an update after a coffee’. The team’s caffeine levels often dictate its schedule. Help office productivity by holding briefings after a coffee break.

Make time for coffee breaks

Oggi abbiamo un pranzo d’affari con un cliente molto importante.

‘Today we have a business lunch with a very important client’. Clinch that business deal the Italian way, i.e. through the stomach.

Hai provato a spegnere e riaccendere?

‘Have you tried turning it on and off again?’ This one short phrase should solve most technical problems in the office, but for everything else you’ll need to chiama i tecnici (call the technician).

Avete sentito della festa di Natale? Il capo era cosi ubriaco!

‘Did you hear what happened at the Christmas party? The boss was so drunk!’ The thrill of a good gossip crosses all cultural borders, so snitch on the boss and bond with your co-workers.

Siamo indietro e la scadenza per il progetto é dietro l’angolo.

‘We’re behind schedule and the deadline for the project is coming up’. Get used to people and projects running late in the Italian office – tardiness is a way of life in the bel paese.

Non posso venire a lavoro oggi, ho la febbre.

‘I can’t come in today, I have a fever’. Italians are inexplicably obsessed with body temperature, so be sure to use the magic word febbre when calling in sick. Notice there’s no apology either.

Mi licenzio.

‘I quit’.

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