German Translation Services
Business Language Services specialises in German translation (both English to German translation and German to English translation). We have a broad network of highly experienced, qualified professional German translators, who only translate into their mother tongue. What’s more, all our German translations are proofread by a second, independent linguist. We can cater for all varieties of German and can also localise existing content. BLS has an extensive database of German interpreters, selected according to their expertise, specialist knowledge, friendly attitude and professional reliability. BLS also works with some of the best German language tutors, enabling us to offer you tailor-made courses to match your precise needs and suit your ongoing work commitments.
How Many Speak German Worldwide?
German (Deutsch) is spoken as a native language by approximately 95 million people worldwide, primarily in Germany, Austria and Switzerland but also in Luxembourg and Lichtenstein, and as a second language by a further 10 – 15 million. There are also significant communities of native speakers in Italy, France, Belgium and Denmark. The United States has one of the largest concentrations of German speakers outside Europe and there are numerous immigrant colonies across South America, too. It is the most widely spoken first language of the European Union, and the second most spoken language in Europe (after English).
What is the Longest German Word?
Written texts in German are easily recognisable thanks to certain distinguishing features, such as umlauts, and the frequent occurrence of long compounds (the generally accepted longest word in use in German, Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz, has 63 letters!)
The German Language
Linguistically speaking, German dialects are different from varieties of standard German. The dialects are the traditional local varieties which can be traced back to the different medieval Germanic tribes. Many of them are barely intelligible to someone who knows only standard German, since they often differ from standard German in features such as vocabulary, pronunciation and sentence structure.
German uses the Latin alphabet but in addition to the 26 standard letters it uses three vowels with umlauts, namely ä, ö and ü, as well as the ‘Eszett’ or ‘sharp s’: ß. In written German all nouns are capitalised, intended to make it easier for readers to determine what function a word has within the sentence. This convention is almost unique to German today although it was historically common in other languages such as Danish and English.
German has fewer Romance-language loanwords than English or even Dutch, though they do exist; one such example being ‘Kaiser’ (from the Latin word ‘Caesar’). The English language has also borrowed a number of German words, e.g. ‘doppelgänger’ and ‘kindergarten’.
The not-for-profit Goethe Institute (named after the famous German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe) promotes the German language abroad and aims to enhance the knowledge of German culture and society within Europe and worldwide. The international broadcaster, ‘Deutsche Welle’ (German Wave), is the German equivalent of the BBC’s World Service, providing global radio and television broadcasts in German and several other languages.