Approximately 3 million people speak Lithuanian, making it one of the least common languages in Europe. Lithuanian is a Baltic language and is the official language of Lithuania as well as one of the official languages of the EU. Lithuanian is a very old language and is related to Sanskrit (a classical language of India), Latin and Ancient Greek.
Lithuania is located between northern and eastern Europe and is the largest of the three Baltic States. Lithuania has benefited from EUR180 million per year of European Union (EU) assistance and development funds since joining the EU in 2004. This has helped modernise the country’s economy.
The country is in a strategic location with a strong transport infrastructure and is politically and economically stable with a multilingual and educated population.
- Lithuanian is one of the oldest languages in the world today. It is one of the oldest living Indo-European languages of Europe.
- The official language of Lithuania may be Lithuanian, however, you will find a vast majority of the people speak Russian and English too.
- The first publishing house in Lithuania was founded in Vilnius in 1522 and the first Lithuanian book was published in 1547.
- Lithuanian is closely related to neighbouring Latvian and more distantly to Slavic, Germanic and other Indo-European languages. It is written in a Latin alphabet.
- The Lithuanian alphabet uses the Latin script supplemented with diacritics and it has 32 letters. In the collation order, y follows immediately after i (called i nosinė), because both y and i represent the same long vowel [iː].
Doing business in Lithuania is very similar to doing business in the UK. If your product or service is successful in the UK, there’s a good chance you’ll be successful in Lithuania. The country’s priority sectors for economic development include energy, infrastructure (particularly transport), education and training, life sciences and ICT.
The UK is known for exporting a wide variety of products and produce to Lithuania from footwear, furniture and textiles, food products and cosmetics, to machinery, chemical products and medical devices/equipment.
During the last six years there have been EU funds in the region of £549 million available for all levels of education in Lithuania and these funds have been allocated across the acquisition of special educational aids and technical aids, modernisation and development of infrastructure in education and Research and Development (R&D) as well as the acquisition of educational equipment and supplies.
For any meeting, it is advisable to schedule it 2-3 weeks in advance and ensure a list of who will be attending is sent through so that the Lithuanians can assemble a team of people from a similar level. Research suggests that in any business environment, people of senior levels only deal with people of the same rank from the other company. This goes for conversations, where you might sit in a meeting and how you address someone (using their title and their surname until they give you the approval to call them by their first name).
Business can move slowly in Lithuania because of the bureaucratic nature of their society, so if you have a deadline it is not wise to make them aware of that deadline or indeed chase them for work/responses as they will more than likely delay it further. The process is normally carried out by meeting people at lower levels to start off with until you meet the actual decision maker.
Business tip: Accept offers of hospitality and reciprocate, as Lithuanians like to develop friendships before they are willing to discuss business. Lithuanians favour face-to-face meetings because they need to foster relationships for mutual understanding. Always greet each other with a handshake, eye contact and a smile.
Here are some basic phrases you should familiarise yourself with:
|Good morning||Labas rytas|
We have translated extensively into Lithuanian in the health & wellbeing sector for c lients such as Young Living. We also work with a specific client translating personal documentation for pre-employment screening. Types of content that we have translated include websites, product specifications, marketing material, Criminal Record Checks and E-blasts.
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