Translation into German
German, being the language of linguistics, science and philosophy, is one of the working languages of the European Commission.
German Around the World
Some 128 million people speak German across the 5 continents. This number of Germanophones places this language in 11th place of most spoken languages in the world. There are those who voluntarily teach themselves German, or who chose it as a second language in their school curriculum. Some organisations, such as the Goether Institute, have branches in different countries which enable and/or reinforce this learning.
There are also German-speakers who belong to minority communities. This is the case for Ashkenazi Jews in Paraguay and Brazil, or the Amish communities in Pennsylvania.
German-speaking minority communities have also been identified in Europe. In Italy, they are settled in the Friuli and Aosta Valleys. In France, Alsace and Moselle are among their preferred zones. In Belgium, many German-speakers are identified in the cities of Saint-Vith and Eupen. In addition, three European countries have German as their official language: Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
German in the Professional Sphere
Germany’s economic growth is widely recognised across Europe and even globally. German industries are certainly aware that they must adapt to the language of their contacts, however for those who wish to be part of a major German business, the ability to speak the language is an additional skill that cannot be underestimated.
German is the language of science and medicine. This idea was more pronounced at the beginning of the 20th century. The documents created in this era continues to be relevant today. Proficiency in German therefore remains an asset in this sector. The original works of Freud, Einstein, Kant or Marx continue to serve as a reference.
The Subtleties of the German language
For those who do not speak the language, German is seen as just a long string of letters. The word « Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft », comprising 79 letters, confirms this perception. A well-trained German-speaker will be able to give the correct translation which is made up of several words in English: ‘company for subordinated state employees for the main control office for electricity constructions/building for Danube Steamboat shipping’.
To add to the complexity of the German language is the fact that there are 33 variations in Germany alone. A native will know where they are placed in these linguistic varieties. They will know that in the former German Democratic Republic, ‘broiler’ is roast chicken, whereas the dish is called ‘frittiertes Hühnchen’ in other regions. To give another example, plastic material is called ‘das Plastik’ or ‘der Kunststoff’ in the ex-GDR and ‘die Plaste’ in the west of the country. These are the kind of subtleties that one must know when translating books, the news and documents among other things.