While writing about my clients’ needs branching out and doing business outside of Germany, I realised it might be easier to explain German business to the Germans themselves. As an Ausländer (foreigner).
Many small and medium sized companies in Germany, Austria and even Switzerland (the DACH Region) still do more business at home or nearby than out in the world. Don’t get me wrong, the European Union has been a boon to the German economy like few other developments in modern history.
Knowing they can easily sell their products in Greece or Portugal and everywhere in between is a huge advantage for Germany and France and the other ‘big boys’ in Europe.
Nevertheless, look at successful German companies and click on the English translations of their websites, and they are truly awful. The opposite of good.
Some are clearly machine translated, and more important? They give the impression that the company spent little, if any, time developing their international page on their site. Because they didn’t.
And it shows.
When I’m helping a company that does decent sales in Germany (or the DACH Region in general), they often have international sales, as well. They spent little time on their English translation, and the orders keep coming in. So, what’s the problem.
It’s a weird truth about doing business in Germany, considering their quality of craftsmanship is otherwise so high. If it’s an engineering company or silicon chip manufacturer, you can’t fault them on having a good product. More often than not their marketing and the German content of their site is attractive and professional.
Yet the English page on their website? Atrocious.
Not going to name the company, because I don’t do that in such situations, but they are a public relations firm here in Munich. One of the more successful ones, I might add. The website is slick and their business is booming. Maybe they only want to have an English page that one could click on.
If you do, though, hold onto your pearls. These guys might have paid a consulting firm a fortune for their site and the German content, but the English on their English site makes this native English speaker blush. It’s that bad.
Doing English here in the DACH Region on the fly? Not advisable. Perhaps your older clients and colleagues don’t realise it, but you’re cutting corners and the younger generation can tell immediately.
Call or write me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a consultation. I’d be happy to help you out!