“I falsi amici” or “the false friends”. No, we’re not talking about the title of the new Netflix series. The “false friends” are those pairs of words that are spelled the same in Spanish and Italian, but have very different meanings.

These “false friends”, in the context of inter-company relations, can lead to misunderstandings and embarrassing situations. To avoid this, the best solution is to provide employees with in-company Italian courses with specialised teachers.

Do you want to know what are the most common “i falsi amici” in business Italian? Join us and discover everything you need to know to master business Italian.

Types of false friends in Italian

The list of “false friends” between Italian and Spanish is long and varied. We can classify them into two main groups:

  • Words that are spelled the same in both languages, but have very different meanings. This is the case of the word “burro”, which in Spanish identifies the animal and in Italian refers to butter.
  • Words that have a similar but not identical meaning. These terms also cause confusion and are even more difficult to remember. The word “carta”, for example, refers in English to a document, whereas in Italian it refers to “paper”.

“Fake friends” in Italian for companies that can spoil everything in a matter of seconds

The average Italian citizen is a friendly, familiar and cordial person who likes to take the time to get to know his or her interlocutors. These are the “false friends” to avoid when making introductions.

  • Costipato: Your intention is to worry about his state of health. So you say: “Sei Costipato”. Big mistake. The word “costipato” in Italian also means “constipated”. If you don’t want to spoil everything, use “sei stitico” instead.
  • Imbarazzata. This is another classic of “I falsi amici” in Italian for business. All you want to do is be nice and congratulate her on her state of grace, but what you are really conveying is that you think she is “embarrassed”. That’s a bad start. Remember that in Italian, pregnant is “incinta”.

If you are thinking of internationalising your business to the Italian market and you want to avoid your employees making mistakes when meeting with partners or clients, you can use Classgap For Enterprise’s Italian for business test. You will find out what is the real level of Italian of your employees and you will be able to set the objectives of your next Italian courses for companies.

Other “falci amici” to avoid in Italian for companies

False friends” are the great enemies in business language learning. In the case of Italian, because of its similarity to Spanish, the chances of making mistakes of this type increase considerably.

  • Nudo. A word as innocent in English as “nudo” can become disrespectful in Italian, as it translates as “naked”.
  • Did you hear “rat”? Don’t worry. No one is insulting you. It’s a very common word in Italian for business, as it translates as “delivery”.
  • Do you want to open a shop in Italy? Don’t use the word “tenda” because all you’ll get is someone getting up to open a curtain. The correct word for “shop” in Italian is “negozzio”.
  • Don’t even think of inviting someone to “accostarsi” if you notice that they are sleepy. What you are really doing is inviting him or her to “snuggle” or “come closer”.

Classgap for Enterprise’s in-company Italian courses are taught by specialised teachers who will help your employees identify and avoid all the “false friends” of in-company Italian. Don’t wait any longer and contact us, we offer 100% personalised training tailored to the needs of your employees.