We’ve created this guide to help you get closer to your Polish customers. A web presence that is in tune with Poland’s culture will make your customers feel positive towards you, and give them the confidence to do business with you. By understanding these little yet important details, you'll be in a good position right from the start in your new market.
2 The main language
Polish is the main spoken and written language in Poland.
Should you be formal or informal when addressing your Polish customers?
The Polish are increasingly using the more informal form of address “Ty”. This is most seen in online communications. Though it is good to remember that there will still be some customers who are not used to this informal form of address.
The formal forms of address such as "Państwo" (plural), "Pan" (Mr), or "Pani" (Mrs) for one-to-one communication. You would also use this when referring to an email you have sent or a phone call you have made for the first time, before switching from a formal to a less formal relationship.
If you have a financial product, a legal service, or are talking about money, you should adopt a more formal tone and style.
Ease of doing business in Poland
The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2019 report ranked Poland as 33rd out of 190 countries.
4 Numbering systems and formats
In Poland it is customary to write numbers up to 10 with words (one, two, three, etc) and bigger numbers with digits, e.g one, three, nine, 17, 79, 200
- This is a comma (,)
- e.g. 1,5 hours.
The thousand separator is a space in numbers that consist of more than four digits
- e.g. 9000, 10 000.
Larger numbers are often written out with a combination of digits and words
- e.g. 10 000 would be written 10 tysięcy (ten thousand) & 10 000 000 would be written 10 milionów (ten million)
The country code is +48. The typical phone number notation is +48 123 456 789. Polish telephone numbers have 9 digits.
The format is "12 345 67 89" within Poland and "+48 12 345 67 89" outside Poland.
5 Currency format
Polish zloty. This is represented by the lowercase zł. Its trading three letter code is PLN. Polish coins are called grosz represented by the lowercase gr.
The zloty note denominations are 500 zł, 200 zł,100 zł, 50 zł, 20 zł, 10 zł.
The coin denominations are 1 gr, 2 gr, 5 gr, 10 gr, 20 gr, 50 gr, 1 zł, 2 zł, 5 zł.
6 Date format
In Poland the date format is DD.MM.YYYY, e.g. 24.06.2017.
7 Hour formats
The 24-hour clock is used in Poland.
The 24-hour clock is used mainly in writing and also for timetables and in official documents. The hour is separated from the minutes by a colon, e.g. 18:10
8 Working days
Standard working days are Monday to Friday.
9 Things to avoid in the Polish market
Every culture has different superstitions and traditions which are always worth noting, especially when entering a new market. The Poles consider the number 13 to be unlucky and Friday 13th to be a particularly unlucky day, though this is just a fun superstition.
10 Important localisation tips
Here are the top six translation tips that will make you sound like a local in no time:
Avoid literal translations and guess work. You can do this by making sure the translation fits the context in terms of meaning and how easy it is to read.
Be careful not to be too formal in your tone.
Try not to use English syntax and sentence and phrase structure when translating into Polish. Avoid using English terms when a Polish term will work just as well.
Give your translators as much context as possible — give them references, define the target audience for them, and tell them the communication objective.
Don't assume things that are natural for your language. Leave space for target language editing as much as possible. For example don't impose sentence structure through placeholder usage.
Test the final target version in its context. That way you can make any improvements before your communication goes live.