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I am in a Japanese office setup sitting next to my boss. He often gets phone calls but most of the time he is not in his seat. How do I answer his phone say that "This is Mr. XX's seat and this is YY (my name) talking and Mr.XX is not in his place" in Japanese?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I've found answering the phone at work follows a fairly fixed pattern.

I would answer the phone with something along the lines of:

This is company Z, MR Y speaking.

Then when they introduce themselves. You generally reply with :


Then when they ask for your boss say something like:

I'm very sorry but he has left his seat...

At that point they will either ask when he will be back, or say they will call back later.

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(Regarding the last line) Generally it is best to omit the -san for an employee within your company, even your boss, when talking to someone outside of your company. –  Dono Sep 13 '12 at 6:52
Cheers @Dono . I was in two minds about adding it myself at first. So it's best to say XX rather than XX-san, or would you omit the name altogether? –  Jeemusu Sep 13 '12 at 8:35
It is usually correct to use a surname without -san or any honorific suffix when you talk about person X in your company to someone outside of your company, because X is considered as a person on your side in relation to the caller, and you should not honorify a person on your side. If the caller is a family of X, the situation is different; you should refer to X with honorifics in this case. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Sep 13 '12 at 20:04

Two cases:

  1. You answer saying "もしもし、JLU(の)クマーです", and the other person realises immediately you're not your boss

  2. First, just say もしもし, let them introduce themselves, and then reply something like "あ、どうもありがとうございます。申し訳ないのですが、現在部長が席を外してますが…"

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