How to learn Business German?
Business German is a special field of the German language that deals with effective communication in business circles. It is particularly associated with the fields of international trade and foreign affairs and has become an important concept in the modern age of global markets and internet-based communication methods.
The study of business German includes specific business vocabulary and terminology, as well as an emphasis on communication skills that are important in the workplace. Those who learn business German are better able to negotiate, give presentations, hold meetings and write reports in German.
Although it is mainly studied by non-native speakers, business German can also be an extremely useful field of study for those who are already fluent in the language. In fact, a German speaker who focuses on business German can significantly increase their work performance and improve their overall employment prospects.
Why should you learn Business German?
German is spoken as a first language by approximately 95 million people, making it one of the most important and widely spoken languages in the world. This widespread use and the fact that Germany is one of the largest economies in the world have contributed to making knowledge of German essential for many businesses.
While knowledge of German is extremely important, the business world is full of specific jargon and colloquialisms that can be difficult for newcomers to understand. Even native German speakers sometimes struggle to communicate during a business meeting or to conclude a commercial transaction, as they inevitably encounter a range of words and expressions they have never seen or heard before.
Therefore, learning German can significantly improve your job prospects, as your knowledge will be invaluable to many employers. According to the German-American Chamber of Commerce, English-German bilingualism is an important factor for 65 percent of companies when selecting a new employee.
Of course, business German can also be useful in other areas, such as international relations and the highly professional world of politics and science. In fact, German is currently the most widely spoken native language in the European Union, giving it political importance, while it is the second most widely used scientific language.
Tips for learning business German
When learning business German, it is important to understand that there is a difference between written and oral communication, as well as between face-to-face and telephone communication.
For example, it may be acceptable to greet a colleague with "Hallöchen!" ("Hello!"), a business letter usually begins with a more professional salutation. A common example is: "Lieber Herr [Name]", which is equivalent to the English "Dear Mr. [Name]". If you are addressing a woman, you should instead opt for: "Liebe Frau [name]".
Many non-native speakers dread telephone conversations, but they often follow a fairly standardised pattern. So if you learn a few key phrases, you can usually plan a business conversation in advance. For example, you can start by saying, "Hallo! Kann ich bitte Herrn [name] sprechen?" ("Hello! Can I speak to Mr [name], please?").
Business German usually requires a more formal way of expressing yourself, and the German language has a number of formal and informal word variations. For example, when using the pronoun "Sie", it is usually more appropriate to use the formal "Sie" than the informal "du", unless you are speaking in a relaxed manner to a co-worker (this usually happens after you have clarified whether they agree with using "du" instead of "Sie").
English speakers are sometimes surprised that colleagues do not always address each other by their first names. Instead, it is quite common for colleagues to address each other as "Mr" or "Mrs" and their surname - even if they have been working together for years.
A big part of mastering business German is expanding your current vocabulary to include work-related words, phrases and expressions. This can take some time, but if you already have a solid foundation in the language, it should be relatively easy to achieve.
Vocabulary List: Business German
To help you get started, we have compiled the following vocabulary list for business German so that you can quickly learn some useful words and phrases. For the sake of simplicity, we have divided the vocabulary into categories depending on when they are used in an office.
Vocabulary Business German:
der Geschäftsmann – the businessman
die Geschäftsfrau – the business woman
der Vorstand – the board of directors
die Besprechung– the meeting
die Akten – the files
das Projekt – the project
die Telefonkonferenz – the conference call
die Vorbereitung – preparation
der Lebenslauf – resumé / CV
das At-Zeichen – “at” sign (@)
Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren – Dear Sir or Madam
Sehr geehrter Herr / Sehr geehrte Frau – Dear Mr. / Dear Mrs. (or Miss)
Ich schreibe bezüglich… – I am writing regarding…
Mit freundlichen Grüβen – Yours sincerely
Mit besten Grüβen – With kind regards
Guten Tag, [name] am Apparat… – Good day, [name] speaking…
Wie kann ich Ihnen helfen? – How can I help you?
Ich möchte mit [name] sprechen. – I would like to speak to [name].
Bleiben Sie bitte am Apparat. – Please hold the line.
Können Sie das bitte wiederholen? – Can you repeat that, please?
General Office Communication:
Darf ich kurz unterbrechen? – May I interrupt?
Können Sie mir bitte eine Mail schreiben? – Can you send me an email?
Können Sie mir bitte die Agenda schicken? – Can you please send me the agenda?
Das habe ich auf dem Schirm. – I am working on it.
Wie wär’s mit einem Tee? – How about a cup of tea?