Shipping is a global industry that requires us to interact with vendors, clients, and agencies all over the world.

Although English is the primary language of choice when liaising with international associates, there can be times when we may encounter other languages – and the need to understand those languages. As effective as Google Translate is in helping us decipher the hieroglyphics we see when faced with languages foreign to our own, it is not always the best tool when it comes to shipping terms. For example, if you use a search engine to translate the English word “Breakbulk” into Italian, you could end up with the misleading result alla rinfusa which means “randomly.”

To avoid confusion, and maybe give you a chance to impress your overseas colleagues with your knowledge of the assicurazione that will be required for specific shipments, here is a compilation of authentic translations gathered from friends and colleagues around the world who have firsthand experience with these terms in English and in their own native tongue.

Translation of Common Shipping Terms by Language

EnglishSpanishItalianPortuguese
Bill of LadingConocimiento de embarquePolizzaConhecimento de Embarque
ContainerContenedorContenitoreContêineres (pl)
DemurrageEstadiaSosteSobrestadia
Letter of CreditCarta de creditoLettera di CreditoCarta de Crédito
RatePreciosRataPreço
CargoCargaMerceMercadoria
Release TypeTipo de liberacionTipo di RilascioTipo de liberação
AgentAgenteAgenteAgente
ImportImportacionImportazioneImportação
ExportExportacionEsportazioneExportação
InsuranceSeguroAssicurazioneSeguro
ReeferRefrigeradoRefrigeratoConteiner refrigerado
TareTaraTaraTara
DepartureSalidaPartenza (Salpare)Saída
TransshipmentTransbordoTrasbordoTransbordo
ArrivalLlegadaArrivoChegada
BreakbulkCarga a granelMerci SfuseCarga solta
Transit TimeTiempo de transitoTempo di TransitoTempo de trânsito
EnglishGermanFrenchTurkish
Bill of LadingFrachtbriefConnaissement maritimeKonsimento
ContainerContainerConteneurKonteynir
DemurrageLiegegebührSurestariesArdiye
Letter of CreditKreditbriefLettre de créditKredi onayli
RateRateTaux de fretFiyat
CargoFrachtFret / MarchandiseKargo
Release TypeFreigabeartType de relâcheKonsimentonun duzenlenis sekli
AgentAgentAgentAcenta
ImportEinfuhrImportIthalat
ExportAusfuhrExportIhracat
InsuranceVersicherungAssuranceSigota
ReeferKühlraumConteneur réfrigéréSoguk Hava Konteyneri
TareLehrgewichtTareDara
DepartureAbfahrtDépartAyrilis
TransshipmentUmschlagenTransbordementAktarma
ArrivalAnkunftArrivéeVaris
Breakbulkkonsolidierte Stückgüter Marchandises en vracDokme yuk
Transit TimeLaufzeitTemps de transitYolculuk suresi
EnglishArabicCantoneseMandarin
Bill of Ladingبوليصة شحن提單提单
Containerحاوية集裝箱集装箱
Demurrageمصا يف تخزين滯期費滞期费
Letter of Creditخطاب ضمان信用證信用证
Rateنولون
Cargoحاوية貨物货物
Release Type發布類型发布类型
Agentوكيل代理人代理人
Importوارد進口进口
Exportصادر出口出口
Insuranceتامين保險保险
Reeferثلاجة冷藏箱冷藏箱
Tareوزن الحاوية فارغة皮重皮重
Departureمغادرة出發出发
Transshipmentترانزيت轉運转运
Arrivalوصول到達到达
Breakbulk
Transit Timeوقت السفر

If you do not see your language on this list or you have additional terms that you would like to add please share your translations in the comments below.

A special thank you to Dana Finch, Matheus Fernandes, Federico Recchia, Y. Can Sekman, Jenny Cepeda, Virginie Tonti, Matthieu Marchione, Richard Rojas, and Wassim Rafla for your translation contributions.