Sunday, 7 June 2009

Is there a word for entrepreneur in languages other than French

Over the past 6 months I have had an opportunity to travel to several countries and it seems to me that only French has a real word to capture the essence of what it is to be an innovator that brings an idea to market. English has largely borroed from the French - but has a word Enterpriser, there are similar words in Castallan (Spanish) but I would like to hear from others if their languages and cultures have a word directly translatable to "entrpreneur".

So the former President Bush got it completely wrong in one sense - the French to have a word for Entrepreneur - but do other languages and cultures?

What I found interesting in Jordan - during a recent visit is that in Arabic there is no such word - but there is one for failure - and it is not just descriptive - it is a really strong form of "insult"....

Maybe we don't need a word in other languages for "entrepreneur" - but it seems a shame...

5 comments:

learninginlinux said...

In Dutch the word is "ondernemer", which (when taken very literally) is closer to "under-taker" than the French "between-taker"... would that reflect all sorts of cultural differences?

Alban.Rampon said...

Hello,
As the word represents well the subject and 'works' that's why it was just borrowed.
It's like "manager". It was lost in French to re-appear in English!
@learninginlinux: may be because you take it from below to push it up...
Cheers,
Alban

Massimo Gaetani said...

In Italian we use "Imprenditore" that follows the Spanish definition as the person who runs the "Impresa" (Enterprise) that is synonymous of other words that translate into "Company".

paul_walsh21 said...

Germans use the term "Gründer-Szene" to talk about Founders. Someone who founds a company is a synonym for entrepreneur, and you could argue it is a better term because it connotes starting a business rather than also including schemes :-)

Australia said...

Not all languages follow this ‘undertaker model’. In Malay, usahawan means someone who does a commercial activity at some financial risk. In the Thai language, the word for entrepreneur is pupagongan, which means literally ‘someone who assembles other people together’. In Indonesian, wiraswasta has the signification of ‘courageous private sector’. In the Garinagala language of Australian Aborigines, they use egargal or ‘story-teller’ to mean entrepreneurs. The Māori language of the Polynesians of New Zealand has two words for entrepreneurship. Ngira tuitui means the ‘needle that binds things together’. The other word that Māori use for entrepreneurship is tinihanga a Māui, or the ‘tricks of Māui’. Māui in Polynesian mythology is a demigod and cultural hero famous for his exploits and trickery. Māori admire his entrepreneurial spirit, heroism, altruism and brashness. Take the following story, for example: