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ABOUT GERMAN


There are 3 main dialect groups of German, with a few subgroups: neutral or "high" German, Swiss German, Austrian German.

NEUTRAL or "HIGH" GERMAN
This is the main and acknowledged "proper" German, also called "High German". It is the German translation of choice for documents or recordings that will be sent to multiple countries, and also the language for legal and other official translated materials throughout the German speaking world. There is also one single, correct broadcast accent for German recordings. There are stringent rules for German grammar, spelling and usage, all emanating from Germany itself, and accepted worldwide. German spelling rules have undergone a major change in the last few years, and documents written in the "old style" have an outdated appearance. Translations in any other German dialect are not acceptable for doing business in Germany, and undereducated written German or grammatical and spelling mistakes will seriously damage a client's image. A dialect German voice talent recorded in any other country for sales or training multimedia will miss its mark in Germany. Thus, it is not applicable to use a Swiss voice or an American-accented German voice on a product destined for Germany. The effect is rather like recording a voice in Mississippi for a New York commercial. On the other hand, excellent German translations created in Germany, and recordings with voice talent in Germany are received with pride and joy.

AUSTRIAN GERMAN
Austrian German is charming with a powerful personality. Their accent is distinctive, their word choice delightful and there is a very strong nationalism. Much of what today is educated Europe was part of the Austrian Empire, thus a great percentage of artistic and cultural heritage is directly related to Austria and its people. Many products sold across German-language borders, such as telephone systems, electronics, and manufactured goods, are translated only into High German for expediency and return on investment. The Austrians certainly understand High German. They hear it on television every day, and read it in literature, their magazines, and learn it in their schools. But for advertising and sales it is good to understand that their hearts will follow Austrian German.

SWISS GERMAN
One of the world's dialects with the most individualism is Swiss German. With an accent that is as unique as it is strong, Swiss German is quite different from High German, and is beloved by its speakers. Swiss German translation is more prevalent for advertising than for business documentation. Notwithstanding the acceptance and correspondence always in "high" German, the heart for sales is in Swiss German.

POCKETS OF GERMAN

German is the 2nd language in Poland, Czech Republic, Rumania and Hungary. And there are a few pockets where German is the first language within a country of a different tongue. For example, in Brazil there is a renowned area in the mountains with German villages. In the United States, there are German pockets in Pennsylvania and other states, often associated with religious beliefs.


For more on German languages, click here.