Did you know that Germany is the best country in the world?
Okay, when we put it like that, it may sound a little contrived. However, in-depth research comparing the world’s leading nations has ranked Germany as number one in the world for entrepreneurship.
It’s also ranked as the most powerful country in Europe, scoring exceptionally for quality of life, openness for business and as a place to live and work.
So, if you hadn’t already guessed, yes — German is an incredibly useful language for business.
Its list of perks goes on and on. Allow us to boil down all the mind-blowing benefits of speaking this language, illustrating just how significant German and Germany could be for your business.
The German language: origins, facts, figures
Let’s set the German language scene. After all, who doesn’t enjoy those interesting linguistic titbits? German (Deutsch) is a part of the West Germanic language group cluster, other members being English, Dutch and Frisian.
After Roman contact in 1st Century BC, the recorded history of the Germanic languages began. It’s only around the 6th Century that we can speak of a German language itself.
Because of the political, social and geographical closeness, English and German share many loanwords, or Lehnwörter! You’ll most likely be familiar with Kintergarten, Angst (fear), and über, for example.
There’s also a massive number of cognates — words that look and sound similar in both languages — shining a light on English and German’s shared historical roots. For example...
- Doktor — Doctor
- Fabulös — Fabulous
- Großvater — Grandfather
- Lernen — Learn
- Mutter — Mother
- Regulär — Regular
… you probably get the point.
Nowadays, German boasts over 100 million native speakers, in addition to approximately 128 million more second language or foreign speakers — a symbol of its immense political and economic importance in Western society.
Germany is the largest native language of the European Union, in addition to being spoken in Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Poland and even small parts of Belgium and Italy (specifically, the South Tyrol province!).
Some interesting aspects to German include its use of three genders, capitalisation for all nouns, as well as, classically, its tendency to have some very long words.
In 1999, the German Language Society nominated the following for Word of the Year: Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz. Particularly important if you’re in the food processing or manufacturing industries in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern — it refers to laws around cattle marking and beef regulation.
An economic powerhouse at Europe’s heart
Where do we start?
The incredible bulwark that is the German economy leads the world in science, manufacturing, services and more. It’s Europe’s biggest exporter, by far, as well as the world’s third-largest industrial nation.
Germany has Europe’s largest economy and is the fifth richest country in the world. It’s additionally home to Europe’s biggest population, and boasts brilliant geographical placement (right in the heart of Europe itself).
If you’re involved in the industrial sector, you’ll probably already know of Germany’s significance to your business. Industry accounts for 28% of the country’s GDP, with automotive, mechanical engineering, electronics, pharmaceuticals and more leading the way.
Marketers target the country to benefit from its thriving entrepreneurial scene and expansive opportunities for growth. Tourists, on the other hand (but crucially), flock there to see its 40 UNESCO World Heritage sites, rolling countryside, range of museums and — of course — enjoy a Schnitzel or two.
As such, Germany’s economy is perfectly well-rounded and diversified: tourism, services, agriculture and industry all playing a driving role.
A wealthy, connected e-commerce hub
With native German speakers totalling approximately 100 million, there’s a pretty mega audience waiting to hear from you — especially if you have an e-commerce hub or website online, where you can reportedly reach roughly 74% of these native speakers (without even branching out to physical marketing tools!).
Germany is, at this point, famously up-to-speed with tech and, by proxy, internet trends and usage - especially in terms of e-commerce. Among all the country’s other honours, Germany is predicted to be Western Europe’s fastest grower in the e-commerce field.
- Germany’s e-commerce user penetration is set to grow to 81.5% by 2024, currently at 74% in 2020.
- Germany’s e-commerce activity is to grow annually by 7.4% until 2024.
- Average revenue per e-commerce user is US$1,290.
(all figures published prior to the Covid-19 crisis)
Source: Statistica, eCommerce - Germany.
What this means — if you’ve got a product or service, there’s most likely going to be a target market and strong demand for it amongst people who speak German.
So how can your business take centre stage?
If you want to catch the attention of the German-speaking family and get involved in what certainly appears to be Europe’s most vibrant business economy, then the method is simple — reach out to them in German. Why? Because...
Not all Germans speak great English.
Most Germans speak very good English — indeed, the country is ranked as ‘very high’ on the English Proficiency Index. However, this level of skill is not spread evenly throughout the country or by generation.
Not only that, but German people much prefer to engage with companies that speak their language. In fact, Germans were proven to be the most discriminatory towards global brands who don’t adopt their native tongue. Leaving your website with only one language option is a sure-fire way to alienate these customers, even if they do speak English.
According to a study, only 56% of German people said that they would buy from a global brand who didn’t translate into German — the lowest score out of all countries assessed. This makes the language all the more important for business in order to reach these wealthy, abundant, German-speaking consumers.
More generally, 30% of global consumers never buy from English language sites, and 75% say they prefer to engage with websites in their native language.
Translating your content before pushing it towards the German market is thus key if you want to get involved - but totally worth it, for all the wonderful potential and growth it can offer.
Having a German version of your website will also be great for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) — an authentically-translated website will naturally contain the search terms that Germans are using, pulling your business higher up google.de!
It might reassure you to learn that other businesses have done it, with great success.
Sam Williamson, Marketing Executive for Scottish title and plot sellers Highland Titles, told us that his company recently translated their entire site into German — and created a brand new site to target a German audience, too!
"It was a great decision for us as we've found an entirely new audience to market to,” he said. “Scots and Germans tend to have quite a similar sense of humour (very dry!) which is something that we didn't really appreciate until we started to market ourselves to them. Business since has been so good, we're now considering opening an office in Germany!"
Sprechen Sie Deutsch?
It’s pretty important to do so if you want to succeed internationally.
It’s hard to do the power and usefulness of the German language justice. It’s got everything; speaking German provides your business with access to a country of immense economic, political and social clout and wealth, with geographical superiority to boot.
Regardless of sector, it should be right near the top of your priority list.
At Alexika, we’ve got over 20 years’ experience providing top-quality professional translations between German and all the major languages of the world. Whether you’re translating a marketing campaign, a website, technical documentation or something else, trust Alexika to provide a fully-authentic German translation.
Don’t miss your opportunity to hit home with “the best country in the world”! Get in touch today with our friendly, expert team to discuss your German translation project.