Can I speak to in Spanish?
Knowing polite phone Spanish can be very helpful to businesses or for personal relationships. You may have seen from my page that it is important to show good manners in person. With proper Spanish phone etiquette, your phone calls can be done cordially and you will leave a good impression. The phrases described here are typical lines used and heard in Mexico.
Starting the call
If you are the person making the call, you will hear on the other end
"¿Bueno?" for our basic "Hello?"
Sometimes you may hear "Diga." or "Si, dígame". Basically some form of decir (to speak) in the command form.
The first Spanish phrase to say is:
"Buenos dias, habla (your name) . "
You could say, "Buenos dias, habla Señor Hill ." or "Buenos dias, habla Sandra de la compañía Swan en Denver."
(Now, you may be thinking, isn't "habla" the 3rd person singular form of hablar? Yes, it is. It is a way of saying, this is Mr. Hill speaking or calling.)
It is good polite phone Spanish, to open with the appropriate greeting depending on the time of day. So it's fine to start with "Buenos dias", "Buenas tardes" (good afternoon) or "Buenas noches" (good evening) accordingly. This makes for a friendly greeting and a pleasant beginning of your phone call in Spanish.
Asking if Someone is there
The phrase used is: Se encuentra (name)
¿Se encuentra Mario?, ¿Se encuentra Susana?
When you are using Mr. or Mrs. with the last name, you need to add el or la in front of the name. As in:
¿Se encuentra el Señor Sandoval? or ¿Se encuentra la Señora Mendez?
If you are going to add a title to either their first or last name because of their profession, you need to also include el or la.
¿Se encuentra el Doctor Juan? ¿Se encuentra la Profesora Sanchez?
These titles when written are abbreviated as Dr. Juan and Profa. Sanchez.
other titles you may need or hear include:
el arquitecto = architect abbreviated as Arq.
el ingeniero = engineer abbreviated as Ing.
el licenciado =abbreviated as Lic. (this is used often for lawyers or people in management, it indicates that they have a B.A., B.S type of degree)
It is polite Spanish to address people with the correct titles as above, if you are not sure, copy what you have heard other native speakers use to address them.
-grammar note -
Se encuentra uses the 3rd person singular form of encontrarse. It uses the reflexive form which one may think of as "to find oneself" but it's better thought of "Is John to be found there?".
Asking "Who is calling?"
Now the person on the other side may ask politely:(if you haven't given your name)
"¿De parte de quién?"
This is usually the most common thing you will hear on the phone in Spanish for: Who is calling?
The literal translation is closer to "On behalf of whom?"
Another version of this same question is
"¿Quién habla?" or just "¿Quién es?"
Asking"May I please speak with________?"
When calling a business office where you need to speak to someone specific, you can politely ask:
"¿Me puede comunicar con ____________?"
The same rules above with ¿se encuentra? apply here.
For example: "¿Me puede comunicar con Jorge?"
"¿Me puede comunicar con la Doctora Romero?"
It might take a little practice to say this phrase, just speak clearly and slowly. The pronunciation looks something like this:
me-PWEH- they- co-moo- ni- CAR con ____________?
This is very commonly used on the phone in Spanish, especially business Spanish.
If you need to be connected to an extension number, you can use the same phrase, but also add the extension number. As in
"¿Me puede comunicar con la extension 116?"
Leaving a Message
And if the person isn't there?
Speaking to a live person, you can ask to leave a message by saying:
"¿Puedo dejarle un recado?" May I leave him/her a message?
The word "recado" is used on the phone in Spanish since it is used for a verbal messages. The word "mensaje" does exist, but is used for written messages and phone texts.
You may hear the response, "Sí, (cómo no) dígame." Yes, (of course), tell me."
For your message, the easiest in English would be:
"Please call (your name) at (your number) , thank you, good bye.
The Spanish equivalent is:
"Favor de llamar a (your name) a (your number) , gracias, adios.
"Favor de llamar a Eric a 415 789 6543"
or "Favor de llamar la Señora Cooper a 845 6757."
Leaving a message on an answering machine
You can apply the same rules just above to be polite on the answering machine in Spanish too. Typically you can say,
"Hola José. Habla Susan. Favor de llamarme a 345 6789. Gracias, Ciao." (also common for goodbye)
Translated: Hi Joe. This is Susan, Please call me at 345 6789. Thanks, bye.
If you know how to say the days of the week and time in Spanish, you can add something like this.
"Favor de llamarme el martes a las 10 de la mañana."
Please call me on Tuesday at 10am.
Saying Good bye
We started out using proper etiquette on the phone in Spanish, here are the simple phrases used to end it politely too.
"Gracias, muy amable, adios." Thank you, you have been kind/helpful, bye.
"Gracias, ciao." Thank you, bye.