To which language should you translate to localize in Austria?
What we know from our community
The primary language used in Austria is German—or more precisely, Austrian German, which is a variety of Standard High German. It is used throughout the country in the media and other formal situations and contexts. Although it is very similar to Standard German as used in Germany, it also features quite some peculiarities regarding spelling, grammar, and vocabulary, which can be very meaningful and identity-establishing for people in this market. For localization, and depending on cost-benefit considerations, it can be beneficial for building trust and relatability on the Austrian market to take this distinction into account and opt for an actual locale-specific approach to tailor content to Austrian German. That said, most major platforms and global companies do not actually localize their content specifically for the Austrian market but rely on a unified “German” approach instead, addressing the larger DACH market (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) with one “German” voice. The Austrian audience has become used to that; hence this approach is widely accepted as well.
To which language should you translate to localize in Austria
and the DACH market?
What we know from our community
There are many local dialects and regional language variants in the German-speaking market, which comprises a total population of 100+ million people. This broad variety is true both within Austria as well as in the larger DACH market, which consists of Germany (“Deutschland”), Austria (“Österreich”), and Switzerland (“Schweiz”). Additionally, there are German-speaking populations in the small states of Liechtenstein and Luxembourg (“Luxemburg”), and in the Italian province of South Tyrol (“Südtirol”). Context therefore matters very much: We always need to consider the specific audience to provide natural, idiomatic translations.
The safest choice for addressing the entire market is to use Standard High German, a standardized variety of German for communication in formal contexts and between different dialect areas. That said, cultural sensitivity is important, as seemingly simple choices can make quite a difference. For example, a “chair” could be a “Stuhl” for most people in Germany, whereas most Austrians would call it a “Sessel”, which in turn would be a rather specific form of chair (i.e. an armchair) for Germans. Context also matters for grammar and even spelling: A “month” would be “der Monat” (masculine) in Germany but “das Monat” (neuter) in Austria; and “street” would be spelled “Straße” in Germany and Austria but “Strasse” in Switzerland.
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Most spoken foreign languages
English (40.64%), French 6.91%, Italian 5.54%, Spanish (2.45%)
Moderate proficiency (EF) – 2 of 112 countries/regions in the world- 2/35 position in Europe.
Population: 8,96 m
Population density: 108/km2
GDP: 477.08 billion USD (2019)
GDP per capita: 53,267.9 USD (2019)
Exports: $160 billion (2020)
Internet users: 93% penetration, 8.42 million
Unemployment rate: 6.2% (2020)
Urbanisation: 58.52% (2020)
Literacy: 99% (2020)
Arabic numerals with comma as decimal separator, space or dot as thousands separator.
Date format: dd.mm.yyyy
Time: 24h time system
Country code: 0043
Language data sources: Worldatlas/Britannica//EF/Wikipedia; Demography data sources: IMF/Worldometers; Conventions data source: Wikipedia; Economy data sources: WTO/OEC/CIA/Esomar/Datareportal; Statistics data sources: Datareportal/WorldBank/UN/UNESCO/CEIC/IMF/Culturalatlas/Commisceoglobal
Facts and data
$165 billion (2020). Cars ($7.91B), Broadcasting Equipment ($4.53B), Motor vehicles; parts and accessories (8701 to 8705) ($4.23B), Vaccines, blood, antisera, toxins and cultures ($3.69B), and Packaged Medicaments ($3.64B), importing mostly from Germany ($64.4B), Italy ($10.4B), Switzerland ($8.32B), China ($8.01B), and Czechia ($7.71B).
Financial inclusion factors (over 15 years of age)
• 98% have an account with a financial institution
• 47% have a credit card
• 63% make online purchases
Ease of doing business
It is very easy to conduct business (rated 78.7 out of 100) ranked 13th out of 44 OECD & high income countries ranked 27th out of 190 countries worldwide (2020, World Bank)
$160 billion (2020). Cars ($7.02B), Packaged Medicaments ($6.48B), Vaccines, blood, antisera, toxins and cultures ($4.96B), Motor vehicles; parts and accessories (8701 to 8705) ($4.14B), and Flavored Water ($2.86B), exporting mostly to Germany ($46.6B), United States ($10.6B), Italy ($9.75B), Switzerland ($8.82B), and France ($6.89B).
Main local online stores
Amazon, Zalando, Universa, Otto, Media Markt, Shop Apotheke, Electronic4You, E-tec.at, H&M, Apple
‘Mostly free’ (rated 73.8 out of 100) ranked 15th amongst 45 countries in Europe ranked 22nd worldwide out of 186 countries (2019, Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal)
Global Innovation Index
Ranked 10th out of 39 European countries, 18th out of 132 worldwide.
The Global Innovation Index captures the innovation
ecosystem performance of 132 economies and tracks the most recent global innovation trends.
Service Imports (2017)
Service Exports (2017)
Most complex product by PCI
Product Complexity Index measures the knowledge intensity of a product by considering the knowledge intensity of its exporters
Most Specialised Products by RCA Index
pecialisation is measured using Revealed Comparative Advantage, an index that takes the ratio between Austria observed and expected exports in each product
Export Opportunities by Relatedness
Relatedness measures the distance between a country's current exports and each product, the barchart show only products that Austria is not specialized in Relatedness measures the distance between a country's current exports and each product, the barchart show only products that Austria is not specialized in
E-commerce payment methods split by value
Source: J.P. Morgan 2019 Payment Trends
Preferred e-commerce methods
Source: J.P. Morgan 2019 Payment Trends
Reach most of the online purchasing power
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Austria’s public broadcaster, Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF), is a major player in the TV and radio markets. It faces competition from private broadcasters.
Cable or satellite TV is available in most homes and is often used to watch German stations, some of which carry programmes for Austrian viewers.
A daily newspaper is a must for many Austrians. National and regional titles compete fiercely for readers. The print media are owned by a handful of mostly Austrian and German media groups.
US-based NGO Freedom House gave Austria a 4/4 score for media freedom and independence in 2018. Reporters Without Borders says “press freedom is very well established”.
Die Presse –daily
Kronen Zeitung – mass-circulation daily, regional editions
Kleine Zeitung – Graz-based daily
Wiener Zeitung – Vienna-based daily
Der Standard – daily
Der Kurier – mass-circulation daily
News – current affairs weekly
ORF – public, operates Radio Oesterreich 1, pop music station OE3, youth station FM4 and a tier of regional services
KroneHit Radio – commercial, nationally-networked pop music station
Energy 104.2– – commercial, Vienna pop music station
Radio Arabella – commercial, Vienna music station
Media data source: BBC
88% penetration, 7.90 million
Share of web traffic by device
38.95% mobile phones, 58.85% computers (laptops and desktops), 2.15% tablet devices, others 0.04%
Median speed of mobile Internet connection
Median speed of fixed Internet connection
Mobile connection as a percentage of total population: 138.8%
Percentage of mobile connections that are broadband (3G-5G): 98.2%
Most popular web search engines
Google (95.91%), Bing (2.01%), Duckduckgo (0.72%),Yahoo (0.62%), Ecosia (0.54%), Yandex Ru (0.07%)
Most used social media
Facebook (64.71%),Pinterest (15.71%), Instagram (7.93%), Twitter (7.82%), YouTube (2.51%), Tumblr (0.67%)
81.63 yrs (2020)
Legislation, such as pay equity, shared parental leave etc. aims to achieve total equality between men and women, however, traditional gender roles do still exist, especially within the older generations. Some women do still enjoy the traditional ways of men showing respect (such as letting the woman walk through a door first). Also, some argue that the government’s initiative of giving families extra money for each child born is really intended to keep mothers from going back to work too early.
80% of the population is Christian with an overwhelming majority being Roman Catholic. 10% are Muslim, Jewish or Orthodox. The influence of the Roman Catholic church is still strong but decreasing. Currently, Austria, like many other European countries, is trying to come to terms with the fact that Turkey, a Muslim country, has applied for EU membership.
Glass Ceiling Index
61.9 out 100, ranked 17th out of 29 countries.
The glass-ceiling index measures the environment for working women combining data on higher education, labor-force participation, pay, child-care costs, maternity and paternity rights, business-school applications, and representation in senior jobs.
Graduates (tertiary education):
In 2019, 42% of 25-34 year-olds had a tertiary degree in Austria compared to 45% on average across OECD countries.
Class and Ethnicity: 88% of Austrians are of German ethnicity, the remaining 12% are descendants from neighbouring cultures such as Croatians, Slovenes, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks and Roma. The population is very homogeneous, since almost all of these minority cultures were at some point in time part of former multi-ethnic and multi-linguistic empires. Class related to ethnicity and profession does impact how one is perceived and sometimes also how one is treated. Guest workers, immigrants from Eastern countries, refugees and established minorities such as the “Roma” may be perceived as lower class than the Austrian-born population. While government funded post-secondary education sustains efforts to transcend class barriers, stereotypical views of different groups continue to exist.
These factors impact the workplace to the extent men continue to outnumber women in leadership positions. Workplaces become more ethnically diverse as more guest workers and refugees enter the Austrian workforce. Unfortunately, many are employed in low-profile manual jobs, which are often the types of jobs Austrians tend to avoid.
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Main language families in Austria
Alemannic inﬂuenced and Southem Bavarian
Slovenian inﬂuenced, Southem Bavarian and Slovenian minorities
Photo credit: Martino Pietropaoli, Unsplash