Jun 30

Eleven Tagalog Phrases That’ll Come in Handy When You Work With Filipinos

What? Why would I need to learn Tagalog? Aren’t Filipinos good at speaking English anyway?

Look, while it’s true that you’re not likely to need a translator when working with Filipinos, making the effort to learn basic words and phrases in the vernacular could go a long way towards establishing a fruitful working relationship with your Filipino staff, remote or otherwise. Who wouldn’t appreciate an employer who tries to meet their staff halfway, right? Besides, knowing key phrases also means rogue staff can’t pull the wool over your eyes as easily.

So, without further ado, here’s a handful of Tagalog phrases for you to brush up on:

1. Oo.

This one is simple. It just means “yes.” You might find it particularly useful when answering quick questions.

2. Hindi.


Image Credit: morganmackinley.com.sg

Conversely, hindi means “no.”

3. Kumusta?


Image Credit: theodysseyonline.com

Literally, this phrase means “How are you?,” but it can also be a way to say hello. Sometimes, you can shorten this to “‘Musta?,” but that usually works if you are on informal terms with the other person.

While this question often pertains to a person’s well-being, it can also refer to an ongoing project or task. Depending on the context of your conversation, “Kumusta?” can also mean “Where are we on the project?”

4. Salamat.


Image Credit: philippinewatchclub.org

As with learning any language, it’s important to know the words for “thank you.” Hence, “salamat” (thank you in Tagalog) is generally one of the first Tagalog words most foreigners learn.

Additionally, “maraming salamat” means “thank you very much.” Now, this is one phrase I suggest you use liberally as it’s a simple way to show appreciation.

5. Pasensya na.


Image Credit: thejobnetwork.com

This is the closest thing that the Tagalog language has to word “sorry.” As with the previous phrase, it’s one of the most useful things to have in your arsenal. Why? Well, we all screw up from time to time, and knowing how to apologize always helps.

6. Marunong ka bang mag-*insert skill here*?


Image Credit: thepeterboroughhub.co.uk

If you’ve ever wanted to ask someone if they know how to do something, you can say this. For instance, “Marunong ka bang mag-English?” means “Do you speak English?”

Let’s look at another example. “Marunong ka bang mag-WordPress?” means “Do you know how to use WordPress?.” It sounds tricky, but you just need to put a skill or verb at the end of the sentence.

And the best part? That verb can even be in English. (Incidentally, “Taglish” describes the mishmash of the Tagalog and English languages. It’s quite common in workplaces due to lots of English terminologies that lack a direct Tagalog translation.)

7. Trabaho.


Image Credit: learning.linkedin.com

This phrase can be a verb or a noun, depending on the usage and context. “Trabaho,” as a verb, means “to work.” As a noun, it means “job.”

8. Amo.


Image Credit: bizjournals.com

This is you. No, seriously.

“Amo” generally means “employer” or “boss.” So, if you hear your Filipino staff throwing this word around, they’re probably talking about you. Just a heads-up.

9. Sweldo.


Image Credit: roberthalf.com

Okay, listen up. This is one of the most important Tagalog words in any workplace this side of the world. Sweldo, or sahod as it’s sometimes called, simply means “salary” or compensation.

By the way, if you hear someone say, “May sahod na ba?,” that means the staff are asking if their paychecks have come in.

10. Magkano?


Image Credit: completethemes.com

Speaking of compensation, this phrase literally means “How much?.” If you’re talking reimbursement or equipment/software purchases for a project, this phrase can be useful.

11. Kumpanya.


Image Credit: corporatefinanceinstitute.com

Oh, this is an easy one. It means “company,” as in a business entity, likely yours in any conversation with your Filipino staff.

Alternatively, there’s also the term “negosyo.” This, on the other hand, means “business.”

Lastly, the Philippines acknowledges Tagalog as its official language, but do take note that a lot of Filipinos also speak at least one more local language or dialect. This is especially true if they grew up in a province where inhabitants speak Ilocano, Bisaya, Hiligaynon, or any other such language.

However, Tagalog ought to suffice in most cases. In any case, Remote Staff carefully screens its applicants and requires them to create voice recordings. This way, you can easily check if you can understand their diction and pronunciation (or if you’ll just go ahead and learn Tagalog entirely. That’s fine too).

Contact us today and see for yourself.

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Disclaimer: The above article was written according to the information available as of press time.
All opinions and beliefs expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Remote Staff's, its employees, subcontractors, clients, and affiliates.

About The Author

Serena has been working remotely and writing content for the better part of the last decade. To date, she's written for Pepper.ph and Mabuhay Magazine, among others, and has churned out more than a thousand articles on everything from The Basics of Stock Market Investing to How to Make Milk Tea-Flavored Taho at home. Hermits, aspiring hermits, and non-hermits with interesting project propositions may email her at serena.estrella10@gmail.com.

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