A little knowledge is a bad thing?

If you speak a language at a basic level, is it a good idea to try use what you know when doing business in foreign parts?

When doing business with people who speak a different language it can help your chances of success if you are able to do so in their language, but if you only have a limited knowledge of that language it may be better to rely on interpreters and translators, as your language level will put you at a disadvantage. You could use the language when socialising with your foreign counterparts, and this will probably impress them.

Another challenge when doing business abroad is understanding the local culture and avoid cultural faux pas. If you have studied the local language in depth and have become familiar with the culture, things will probably go move smoothly for you, but if you are a beginner in the language it might be more difficult to avoid the faux pas. Unless you take a cultural training course to familiarise yourself with the culture of the people you’re doing business with.

In other contexts using whatever you know of a language is certainly worthwhile and is likely to be appreciated by speakers of that language.