To which language should you translate to localize in 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 population of 100+ million people. This broad variety is true both within Germany 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 in order 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.
To which language should you translate to localize in Germany?
What we know from our community
The average level of English in Germany is B1 in the Common European Framework of Reference.
Among the most English-friendly cities we find Berlin, while the regions that have recorded the worst knowledge of English are those bordering France, in which priority has been given to French as a second mandatory language. The Saarland, in fact, is the Land with the worst result. Berlin is the city who speaks more English, but keep in mind that purchasing power in Berlin ranks among the lowest of any region in Germany. Berliners have to make do with 48% less income than a person living in Munich. Moreover, the further you move away from cosmopolitan areas, the more conservative people are. So make sure your product is fully translated in German and l that your messaging reflect that. An example? In your ads, using the more formal Sie instead of the less formal du can significantly increase conversions.
Then, first of all, take a look at what the 100 top websites do
Of the top 100 website (Global by design ranking):
- 97/100 translate into German
- 3 do not translate into German
Now, if you need others information about that country to make your decision, below you can find a selection of economic/social/cultural data
T-Index ranks countries according to their potential for online sales.
Minority languages: Low German, Upper Sorbian, Lower Sorbian, Frisian, Romani, Danish
Immigrant languages: Turkish, Polish, Balkan, Kurdish, Russian
Very high proficiency (EF) – 8 of 100 countries/regions in the world- 8/34 position in Europe.
Population: 83.2 million
Population density: 238.252/km2
GDP: 5 048.69 billion USD (2020)
GDP per capita: 40 146.07 USD (2020)
Exports: $696 billion (2019)
Internet users: 93% penetration, 77.79 million
Unemployment rate: 3.03% ( 2020)
Urbanisation: 77.38% (2019)
Literacy: 99% (2019)
Arabic numerals and comma as decimal separator
Date format: dd-mm-yyyy
Time: 24h time system
Country code: 0049
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
$654 billion (2019). Crude Petroleum ($64B), Petroleum Gas ($42.3B), Coal Briquettes ($20.7B), Integrated Circuits ($17.1B), and Broadcasting Equipment ($16B). Partners: China ($152B), United States ($70.1B), Australia ($41.5B), South Korea ($28.3B), and Saudi Arabia ($24.5B).
Financial inclusion factors (over 15 years of age)
• 48% have an account with a financial institution
• 24% have a credit card
• 2.4% have a mobile money account
• 19% make online purchases
Ease of doing business
It is very easy to conduct business (rated 79.7 out of 100) ranked 10th out of 44 countries in Europe ranked 24th out of 190 countries worldwide (2019, World Bank)
$696 billion (2019). Cars ($103B), Vehicle Parts ($33.2B), Integrated Circuits ($30.7B), Machinery Having Individual Functions ($20B), and Passenger and Cargo Ships ($13.7B). Partners: United States ($134B), China ($128B), South Korea ($44.9B), Chinese Taipei ($41.6B), and Thailand ($28.9B).
Main local online stores
Amazon.de, Otto.dem, Zalando.de
‘Mostly free’ (73.5 out of 100) ranked 13th out of 43 European countries ranked 24th out of 186 countries worldwide (2019, Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal)
Global Innovation Index
Ranked 7th out of 39 European countries, 10th 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 products 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
Specialisation is measured using Revealed Comparative Advantage, an index that takes the ratio between Germany observed and expected exports in each product
Which of the following methods do you prefer to use when you pay for a product you have bought online? (2019)
Media language German, English
Germany’s competitive television market is the largest in Europe, with more than 38 million TV households. The many regional and national public broadcasters – organised in line with the federal political structure – vie for audiences with powerful commercial operators. Each of the 16 regions regulates its own private and public broadcasting. The national public broadcasters are TV networks Das Erste and ZDF and Deutschlandradio. Public TV and radio are funded by a “broadcasting contribution” paid by each household. Deutsche Welle (DW) is Germany’s international broadcaster. Germany is home to some of the world’s largest media conglomerates, including Bertelsmann and the publisher Axel Springer. The top free-to-air commercial TV networks are operated by RTL Group and ProSiebenSat1 Media. Germans are avid newspaper readers and the non-tabloid press is a trusted news source. There are several national newspapers, but the press is strongest at the regional and local level. Bild tabloid is the best-selling daily. Media freedom is enshrined in the Constitution. While the press and broadcasters are free and independent, the display of swastikas and statements endorsing Nazism are illegal.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung – prestigious daily
Sueddeutsche Zeitung – Munich-based daily
Die Welt – Berlin-based daily
Frankfurter Rundschau – Frankfurt am Main-based daily
Handelsblatt – Duesseldorf-based financial daily
Focus – weekly news magazine
Der Spiegel – news weekly, English-language site
Die Zeit – weekly
Bild – mass-circulation daily
The Local – Berlin-based, English-language
ARD – organisation of regional public broadcasters; operates Das Erste, the main national public TV channel
ZDF – operates second national public TV channel
n-tv – commercial, rolling-news
Welt – commercial, rolling news
RTL – major commercial broadcaster
ProSiebenSat.1 – major commercial broadcaster
DW-TV – public, international; in German, English, Spanish, Arabic
Sky – pay-TV operator
ARD – umbrella organisation of public radio services, including those of individual regions
Deutschlandradio – operates national public stations Deutschlandfunk and Deutschlandradio Kultur, both offering current affairs and cultural programmes
Deutsche Welle – international radio, services in many languages
Media data source: BBC
93% penetration, 77.79 million
Share of web traffic by device
44.2% mobile phones, 51.2% computers (laptops and desktops), 4.4% tablet devices, others 0.2%
Average speed of mobile Internet connection
Average speed of fixed Internet connection
Mobile connection as a percentage of total population: 132%
Percentage of mobile connections that are broadband (3G-5G): 84%
Most popular web search engines
Google (94.46%), Bing (2.99%),Ecosia (0.66%), Yahoo (0.59%), Duckduckgo (0.58%), t-online (0.25%)
Most used social media
Facebook (52.53%), Pinterest (24.38%), Twitter (9.76%), Instagram (8.7%), YouTube (3.79%), Tumblr (0.97%)
81.41 yrs (2020)
Average age of the population
45.7 yrs (2020)
Glass Ceiling Index
54.5 out 100, ranked 22nd 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.
11.5% of GDP (2018)
Average age of the population
45.7 yrs (2020)
Distribution of employment in Germany in 2019 by economic sector
The Data Factbook is a work in progress project. Our community is helping us to fill it up always with new and updated data. Your contribution is precious. If you want to help us, please write your advices at email@example.com
Dialects spoken in Germany
9-Lowe Siles and Low Rhenish
28-Dutch Low Saxon
29-North Low Saxon
The geographical distribution of languages that you will find in the maps published in this section is a work in progress. Our community is helping us to fill it up with always new and updated data. Your contribution is precious. If you want to help us, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit: Francesco Luca Labianca , Unsplash