There are around 55 million Polish speakers across the world and there are large Polish-speaking communities in Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Lithuania, the UK, the Ukraine, the US and Russia.
Polish is the official language of Poland, which has a population of 39 million people. It is one of the hardest and most complicated languages to learn. Not only does the alphabet have a different set of letters to learn such as ą, ę, ć, ł, ń, ś, ż, ź, but there are lots of different grammatical rules that need to be learnt too, if you want to learn the language fully.
- With 54 letters, dziewięćsetdziewięćdziesięciodziewięcionarodowościowego is the longest Polish word. It roughly stands for “of nine-hundred and ninety-nine nationalities”.
- The country’s name originates from the name of the tribe Polanie, which means “people living in open fields”.
- Poland has an impressive 16 World Heritage Sites and among them the biggest castle in the world which is Malbork.
- Poland is the world’s largest exporter of Amber, so there is always plenty of souvenirs and jewellery made of this vibrant gemstone.
- Approximately 260 million litres of vodka are produced in Poland each year and there are over 110 producers of spirit. Polish vodka is exported to many countries around the world and liked for its high quality.
Poland has been one of the fastest developing countries in the EU in recent years and in 2017 it was ranked by the World Bank as the 27th easiest country in which to do business. It is a sought-after destination for many foreign investors and has a highly educated and worldly population of more than 39 million consumers.
Located at the crossroads of the European trade and transport routes, Poland is an easy entry point to other Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries as well as emerging markets further east. The largest UK investors in Poland include Tesco Plc, Rolls Royce, Glaxo SmithKline, AVIVA Plc, BP, Shell Overseas Holdings Ltd, HSBC, BUPA and Unilever.
UK businesses looking to export to Poland can benefit from a large domestic market of over 39 million consumers where English is the most widespread language used, particularly amongst younger people. It has a strong, dynamic economy and fantastic access to the emerging markets of Eastern Europe.
Within Poland there is great importance on being polite and courteous. Men are expected to kiss ladies’ hands and to behave with decorum. An acceptable gift for women is an odd number of flowers regardless of whether the woman is the recipient or presenter (although chrysanthemums, white lilies, and red carnations are funeral flowers so make sure that you don’t buy them for other occasions). Most men consider themselves judges of a fine drink and for men the standard gift is alcohol.
Through business, it is quite likely you will not be invited to address someone by his or her first name for some considerable time. This is generally something that only occurs once you have been admitted to the “inner circle” and in business this can take several years. The initial style of business can be very formal in Poland, and although this may appear detached, this is not the aim. Whilst government officials are more likely to maintain a high level of formality, it is possible that entrepreneurs will dispense with such rigidity. In general, it is wise to follow your colleagues’ lead when it comes to the tone of a meeting.
Business tip: Business cards are given and taken without any ceremony, but it is worth trying to have your card (or at least one side of it) translated into Polish. Qualifications such as university degrees and job titles are important so make sure you include them.
Here are some basic greetings and phrases to familiarise yourself with:
|Good morning||dzien dobry|
|Good evening||dobry wieczo|
|How are you?||Jak się masz?|
We have translated extensively into Polish in the health & wellbeing sector for clients such as dōTERRA, as well as working in the automotive industry for clients such as Armored Auto. Types of content that we have translated include product specifications, marketing material, newsletters, product catalogues and product labelling.
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