German is spoken by 95 million native speakers worldwide and is the 3rd most widely taught language.
It is an official language in South Tyrol (Italy), Belgium and Luxembourg, and a minority language in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Namibia.
Within the German vocabulary, every noun has a gender and there are also many exceptions to the rule of how these are used. Some find it a fun language to learn but it’s riddled with quirky traits and poetic descriptions.
- Germany is the seventh-largest country in Europe. Covering an area of 137,847 square miles it has a population of 81 million people.
- The country has over 1,500 different beers.
- Within the EU, Germany has the largest economy with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $3.73 trillion. It lies fourth place in the world behind the US, China and Japan.
- It is one of the world’s top car producers, with brands such as Volkswagen, Mercedes, Audi and BMW.
- In German, every single noun is capitalised whereas in English only proper nouns such as people’s names and countries/cities are capitalised.
Germany has a similar market to the UK with similar business risks and requirements. If your product or service is successful in the UK, there’s a good chance you’ll be successful in Germany. However, some German companies prefer to buy from other local businesses, and for this reason UK companies should think about what is unique about their product or service.
There are some rather promising export opportunities when it comes to Germany, including manufacturing machinery and technology, pharmaceuticals, organic chemicals, aerospace and spacecraft.
The German economy is the biggest in Europe and is very stable, with an affluent consumer base and a huge number of small and medium enterprises called the ‘Mittelstand’ which give many selling opportunities. If you want to enter the German market, the network of ports and airports makes transportation of commodities very easy but be cautious and ensure you do your research to formulate a strategy before entering the market. You will get the best results from this if your communication is done by a German resident.
Germans do not seek to develop personal relationships in order to do business with someone. Instead, they’ll be more interested in your academic credentials and the amount of time your company has been in business. They display great deference to people in authority, so it is imperative they understand your position within the company.
German communication is formal and direct (sometimes blunt) and the established protocol is critical to building and maintaining business relationships. As a group, Germans are suspicious of hyperbole and promises that sound too good to be true or displays of emotion.
Appointments are mandatory and should be made 1 to 2 weeks in advance. If you write a letter to anyone, it should be addressed to the top person in the functional area, including the person’s name as well as their proper business title. If you write to schedule an appointment, the letter should be written in German.
Here are some basic phrases you should familiarise yourself with:
|Good morning||Guten morgen|
|You are welcome||Bitte schön|
|Good evening||Guten Abend|
We have worked extensively in the publishing sector, most specifically for a publication in the plastics industry. We translate from German into English, including post-translation editing to ensure the English is appropriate and easy to read for the intended audience. Anglia’s founder, Anthony Withers, is a named editor on the monthly magazine. We also work in the health and wellbeing sector, engineering industry, and technology sector, translating into German. Projects have included websites, e-commerce sites, product guides, white papers and ongoing marketing communications.
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