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Russian for Business: The Basics

Doing business in Russia is tricky. You may need to learn how to meet, greet, and eat in an informal way with your Russian business partners before trying to make any contracts. But first, let’s check how many Russian business words you already know. You’ll be surprised to learn how much we actually have in common!

Top 10 International Business Words

Below are pairs of similar words that mean the same things in English and Russian. Make sure you pronounce them correctly in Russian. Work with a Russian teacher to learn these new words and practice the correct pronunciation. Latinized versions of Russian words are divided into syllables, and the vowels of the stressed syllables are capitalized to prompt correct pronunciation.

  • partner – партнёр (part-nyOr)

  • client – клиент (clee-Ent)

  • service – сервис (sEr-vis)

  • contract – контракт (con-trAkt)

  • presentation – презентация (pre-zen-tA-tsi-ya)

  • product – продукт (pro-dUkt)

  • office – офис (O-fis)

  • manager – менеджер (mA-na-ger).

  • director – директор (dee-rEc-tor)

  • secretary – секретарь (sec-re-tAr’)

Business False Friends (False Cognates)

Using international business words is very helpful when you start learning a language, but beware of the “false friends” that can easily pull the rug out from under you. They sound very much alike but have different meanings in English and Russian.

“Business meeting” in Russian is “деловое собрание” (delovoye sobranie). “Митинг” (meeting) in Russian means “rally.” Make sure you don’t mix these two.

“Price” in Russian is “цена” (tsena), while “прайс” is the short version of “price list.”

“Terms” is “условия” (uslovia). A similar-sounding word, “термины” (terminy), refers to vocabulary or scientific terms. This is a very useful word, too, but not for basic business vocabulary.

The word “conditions” often comes together with “terms” in English and can be translated as “условия” too. The false friend “konditsiya” means “acceptable grade” or “quality level.”

Last but not least, “minutes” in English and “минуты” (minuty) in Russian mean the same only if you’re talking about a minute of time. “Meeting minutes” in Russian is “протокол собрания” (protokOl sobrAnia).

Want to learn more about business culture in Russia? Stay tuned and practice with a tutor.

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