Here at Metro Audio & Video, we’re specialists in localization. That means we make sure our clients’ messages are translated for a specific locale and in accordance with the region’s customs and traditions. After all, our clients wouldn’t want to use humor in a message and have it come across as offensive in another area of the world! So for this blog, we thought we’d go a step further and put together a list of 20 things that you probably shouldn’t do when visiting foreign countries. Take a look:

  1. Don’t leave a tip in Japan, as it’s considered a degrading gesture!
  2. If you plan to give someone flowers in Russia, make sure there’s an odd number of flowers in the bouquet. Odd numbers represent joy. Funerals are usually the only times you will see bouquets with an even number of flowers in Russia.
  3. It’s rude to accept a gift with only one hand in Vietnam. If someone presents you with a gift there, always receive it with two hands.
  4. It’s ok to burp after eating in China – it’s actually considered a compliment to the person who cooked the meal!
  5. You’ll be looked at strangely if you order a cappuccino after your meal in Italy. Most Italians don’t drink coffee with milk in it after eating a meal.
  6. Don’t smile at people you don’t know in Russia. Smiling at people is considered an intimate gesture, reserved mostly for friends and family.
  7. It’s considered impolite to stand and talk with your hands in your pockets in Germany.
  8. Eating everything on your plate in China is a big “no-no”. It may make the chef think that he or she didn’t provide enough food for you to eat.
  9. In India, it’s considered best practice to greet people with your right hand.
  10. Generally, people only honk their car horns in absolute emergencies in Norway. So put your road rage aside, and don’t scare people by honking!
  11. The same rule about honking also applies in New Zealand.
  12. Always say “bonjour” to people in France. It’s deemed ill-mannered not acknowledge those you meet with a hello.
  13. Don’t spit in public in Australia, as it’s seriously frowned upon.
  14. Pointing at people is seen as rude in India.
  15. In China, it’s considered proper to eat rice with chopsticks. However, in Thailand you should eat your rice with a spoon.
  16. In France, it’s good manners to put your slice of bread on the table rather than putting it on your plate.
  17. Avoid drinking alcohol outside in Canada… it could get you in trouble with the local authorities.
  18. Never wish someone an early happy birthday in Germany. Many Germans consider this bad luck.
  19. Chewing gum is completely outlawed in Singapore, so put your chewing habit to rest if you plan on visiting. The country actually banned the import and sale of gum altogether.
  20. Never clink your beer glass with someone else’s glass in Hungary. When the Hungarians lost the 1848-49 Revolution and War of Independence to the Austrians, the Austrians killed 13 of Hungary’s generals and then toasted to their deaths by clinking their beer glasses. The Hungarians pledged not to clink their beer glasses again for 150 years. Even though they could have started clinking again in 1999, the tradition still stands!