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More German Investments Mean More German Translations

Why Language Continues to be an Obstacle for Investing in Germany

Germany is one of the prime markets for foreign investments, with an estimated 4% of global direct investment making its way into the country. In fact, the world’s second richest man, Warren Buffett, who is only beaten to the top spot on the financial leaderboard by Microsoft Founder Bill Gates, believes Germany to be a ‘great market’, and confirms the holding of a number of investments in the country.

Benefits of Investing in Germany

With solid regulatory and legal frameworks, high levels of productivity, and pretty decent purchasing power, there are plenty of advantages to choosing to invest in German businesses. However, there is one additional advantage which is somewhat of a gray area: language. Klaus Jankowski of First Law International Germany says that it is a big advantage that ‘business people and representatives of public authorities are able to communicate in English’ — and it is! It’s true that the use of English in Germany is very, very good. It is elsewhere, too, with English being the most widely spoken second language in Europe. However, it is irresponsible to use this skill as a technique for attracting foreign investors.

Despite the country’s widespread use of English, and the ability of many residents — particularly younger people who learn English as part of their school curriculum — to understand the language, it is simply not possible to invest in Germany while conducting day-to-day business wholly in English. Why? Here are three primary reasons that are worth taking into consideration:

Legal Aspects

Recent language-based news has focused upon the increase in the number of companies around the world adopting English as a corporate language. In some places, such as Japan, this technique is proving to be successful. However, it is not a method that is becoming particularly common in Germany. The German language is already remarkably anglicized, and the German’s aren’t exactly thrilled with this. In fact, in one survey, 39 percent of Germans questioned claimed that they did not like anglicisms at all. The German Language Association is doing more to prevent German from becoming a peripheral language, which means that many German businesses are choosing not to adopt a foreign corporate language. For investors, this means a lack of availability of bilingual documents, with founding documents, bank statements, business plans, and more paperwork likely to be available in the German language only.

Marketing Aspects

There is a very common misconception that English is key for successful marketing in Germany. It is often said that borrowed words and phrases appeal to Germany’s younger generation, and can help a business to appear ‘trendy’. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, because some English phrases cannot be directly translated, and because meaning can easily be lost during direct translation, this marketing method could actually be doing more harm than good. Reports show that only one quarter of English slogans used in Germany are understood by their target audience, highlighting the fact that foreign slogans are not having the desired effect. A prime example is Mitsubishi's ‘Drive@Earth’ tagline, which has been described as ‘clumsy’, while Audi’s native ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ has become one of the world’s most instantly recognized slogans and, some may say, a true symbol of Germany.

Respectful Aspects

Finally, if we boil all this down to its most basic, it’s about respect for a historic language, and for those who speak it. After all, you wouldn’t walk into someone’s home and tell them what to do, would you? So why go into someone’s country and tell them how to speak? The German language has a very rich and vibrant history, and is understood to have developed around 2000 BCE. Derived from Latin, German was originally spoken by Roman settlers, and it has undergone massive transformations to get to where it is today. From Old High German to New High German, via Middle High and Early New High, the language has successfully evolved over the years to meet the demands of society. It is an important language that deserves to be kept alive, and the German Language Association is determined to achieve their goals.

English-German Translations

The above helps to establish the importance of translations for investors, and highlights the need to understand that if you’re planning to invest in Germany you should be prepared to conduct business — at least to some extent — in the German language. It’s an obstacle, but it’s one that can easily be overcome through translation. The quickest way, of course, is through digital tools such as Google Translate, but it’s essential to realize that these solutions could significantly damage your investments.

Machine translations may well be the perfect option if you want to translate a restaurant menu, or you want to get a vague idea of web content written in another language, but in terms of conducting business, a computer just isn’t going to cut it. These translators work on a word-by-word basis and don’t account for the meaning or overall context of the content. The damage created by poor translations is likely to be much bigger than the money saved by not opting for professional German translations (a quick Google search will show you just how much damage the ‘Drive@Earth’ tagline has already done to Mitsubishi’s reputation!) If you’re looking for professional, high quality translation, choose Teck. Teck Language Solutions provides you with reliable German translations in several fields such as marketing, legal, technical, and more, ensuring you always reach your target audience, no matter where they are.

Teck Language Solutions Inc. with seat in Miami, FL, offers professional translations in numerous language combinations, including all languages of the EU and all major languages. More information:

Teck Language Solutions, Inc.
444 Brickell Avenue, Suite 51132
Miami, FL 33131, USA

press contact:
phone: (786) 408-5672

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