Improve your Business Vocabulary

16 May 2018

In almost every industry today, you need to know and use some English words as English has undoubtedly become the international means of communication. In many countries, some business terms only exist in English. So learning and improving your knowledge of business vocabulary is a must. But how can you do that? Read on to find out about some practical suggestions.

Forget translating

Learn to understand business terms directly in English without even translating them in your mind. It can be tempting to check what a new word means in your own language, but try not to because you’ll create an extra obstacle in your understanding. And very often there isn’t an ideal translation anyway. In your country you probably already do this with several names for objects such as computer, internet, budget, report, etc. So the next time you see or hear a new word used at work, try to understand what it means from the context, and if it’s still not clear, look it up online using an English definition.

Create your own mini-dictionary

Using a small notebook, start creating your own simple dictionary of business vocabulary. You can do this by creating a few sections related to a general business topic. For example:

  • Finance
  • Technology
  • Production
  • HR
  • Marketing
  • Management
  • Sales

Every time you meet a new business word or phrase, add it to the appropriate section of your notebook. Write your own simple definition next to each word and ideally write an example too because it will help you consolidate your comprehension.

Start with what you know

When you start learning business vocabulary, it makes sense to concentrate primarily on the area of business that is most important to you, such as accounting terms or logistics for example. You probably already know a lot of words in English related to your job, but it will obviously help you to learn more, and you’ll feel more stimulated as well to learn language that you can immediately put into practice.

Listen out for business talk

The best way to learn and improve your business vocabulary is to hear it being used. In our course at Wall Street English, the video story includes a business situation so in every unit you can hear and practice business vocabulary from the first level onwards. Following a course that teaches you business English is ideal because it is structured and appropriate for your level and needs. Find out more about our Business English Courses.

You can also hear words related to business English on news websites with videos on financial or economic news. Don’t worry if you don’t understand every single word they say, just listen out for key words they repeat and emphasize, and try to understand the general sense.

Read about business

Reading is another great way to widen your business vocabulary. At Wall Street English we have special lessons and online material called ForToday which give you the chance to read articles taken and adapted from the Financial Times and do quizzes related to the topic. Remember that there are lots of ways to read about business and not only through business magazines and newspapers. You could also read (or listen to) some interviews with a well-known business person you find interesting, from the present or the past.

Focus on pronunciation

When you learn new English business words, make sure you focus on learning the right pronunciation. This is not only important for how you pronounce the word but also for when you hear other people use it. If you learn the wrong pronunciation, you won’t recognize it. Unfortunately many words in English are written in one way and pronounced in another, so when you note down a word (in your new mini-dictionary!) make a note of how to pronounce it too. For example, salesperson /’seilz pur son/ – a person who sells a product or service.

Fun quizzes

At Wall Street English we have several fun interactive quizzes you can do to learn and review vocabulary and a lot of useful terms for business situations. So make sure you take advantage of these by clicking on the Practice area of your dashboard or try the quick English Test below.