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  1. #1
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    Language problems

    What if one doesn't know a single word about German and has to go to Germany immediately for business purpose. What should i do, I really need some good advice people

  2. #2
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    When I visited Germany a lot of people spoke English fairly well. It depends if you are going to a big city like Munich or somewhere less populated though. I think the priority to learn English isn't so high outside the major cities. You can also download the google translate app for your phone and that should help you get by. I really don't think you will have a hard time when you go.

  3. #3
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    Re: Language problems

    It depends on the location and the area in general. Most cities have large numbers of English speakers and young people usually are more familiar with English than their elders. Google translate is good for translating basic words for tourist use, so it might come in handy.
    Germany isn't as untourist-friendly as say, Bangladesh or Zimbabwe, so no worries, they've go world-class infrastructure and yes there's the German obsession with reliability and efficiency.

  4. #4
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    Re: Language problems

    Some Germans that I know speak better English than some English people, . English is a wide spoken language in Germany. It's taught in schools. So I can't see it being a problem. If they don't understand you then your best bet would be to take a translator with you. Ask someone you know to go along with you. Or phone the people you are doing business with and see if it is going to be a problem.

  5. #5
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    Re: Language problems

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaIReilly View Post
    Some Germans that I know speak better English than some English people, . English is a wide spoken language in Germany. It's taught in schools. So I can't see it being a problem. If they don't understand you then your best bet would be to take a translator with you. Ask someone you know to go along with you. Or phone the people you are doing business with and see if it is going to be a problem.
    I can't stop laughing at that comment on English spoken in Germany! Yes, the language is definitely spoken very fluently in Germany and compared with the French, Italians and Spaniards, Germans definitely have no problems with learning English and using it wherever possible. Don't worry and just go with the flow!

  6. #6
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    Re: Language problems

    I do actually know more German's that speak English better. I lived in Germany for 11 years, . I also know plenty of English people that need to go back to school .

  7. #7
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    Re: Language problems

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaIReilly View Post
    I do actually know more German's that speak English better. I lived in Germany for 11 years, . I also know plenty of English people that need to go back to school .
    Germans are also often bi-dialectal. They often switch between their own regional dialect and Hochdeutsch (High German) in a split second. If only English speakers were so versatile, able to speak flawless Queen's English in formal situations and then switching back to Scouse, Estuary, West Country or whatever native dialect or accent they speak with when they chat with family and close friends. Germans do this all the time,

  8. #8
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    Re: Language problems

    That sounds terrifying lol. But from this thread it looks like you will be alright. I didn't know that most Germans spoke english. Good luck!

  9. #9
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    Re: Language problems

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianWolfe View Post
    I can't stop laughing at that comment on English spoken in Germany! Yes, the language is definitely spoken very fluently in Germany and compared with the French, Italians and Spaniards, Germans definitely have no problems with learning English and using it wherever possible. Don't worry and just go with the flow!
    I just noticed how daft what I said sounded . I was meaning I know lots of Germans that understand the English language better. Not necessarily pronounce the words better though, ;D.

  10. #10
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    Re: Language problems

    Bring someone with you who knows the language or ask someone where you're going to be your translator for the rest of your stay there.
    If all else fails, pretend you've just had your tonsils removed and put a bandage around your neck and tell everyone that it hurts when you talk.
    Write using pen and paper and have a specific page that says, "I've just had my tonsils removed, I can't talk." in German.
    The last tip is just a desperate last resort by the way.

  11. #11
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    I'm happy to hear that Germans sound very open to speaking English with visitors! I never knew that. It makes me more interested in possibly going there one day because I'm not so intimidated by the language barrier. Thanks for having asked this question and for everyone who answered!

  12. #12
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    Three words: "Sprechen Sie Englisch?" If they say "Nein" Thank them (Danke) and move on to the next person. It's important to remember that not every single person there will speak English, but you can always find someone who does, and they're normally more than willing to help out. Their also pretty efficient, so they won't get offended by you moving on to the next person if they can't help you, no use wasting your time and theirs.

  13. #13
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    I believe that you should have a couple of phrases in German ready in case you need to address a random person on the street, to ask directions or for whatever urgent purposes, like the one mentioned in the reply above that says "Do you speak English? (Sprechen Sie English)". Perhaps the easiest thing for you to do is to get one of those little dictionaries for tourists, with the most useful phrases for different situations explained, where the entire sentences are written down, with the way to pronounce them.

  14. #14
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    Re: Language problems

    Most of them can speak English, not fluent but enough to communicate with others. I still suggest you to have a pocket english-german dictionary that you can bring everywhere and can look up to if necessary. You need to know basis greetings or phrases that are commonly used.

  15. #15
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    Re: Language problems

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianWolfe View Post
    Germans are also often bi-dialectal. They often switch between their own regional dialect and Hochdeutsch (High German) in a split second. If only English speakers were so versatile, able to speak flawless Queen's English in formal situations and then switching back to Scouse, Estuary, West Country or whatever native dialect or accent they speak with when they chat with family and close friends. Germans do this all the time,
    I must be one of the rare Brits who often uses Queen's English when being formal and helping people and totally Scouse when I'm with friends. But I give credit to the Germans for their ability to learn English quickly, I've tried learning German and it's not as easy as it sounds (considering moderate French is my 3rd language, English 2nd and Scouse 1st)

  16. #16
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    Re: Language problems

    Most germans can speak or at least understand english, so you shouldn't worry about this too much. But I'd really recommend you to learn a couple german phrases and words, just the basics. I'm sure you won't really need them once you're there, but you never know! Germans are known for being quite friendly with the tourists, and most young people in Germany can understand english... isn't like in france where they don't like to speak english at all

  17. #17
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    Re: Language problems

    My brother always loved going to Germany. He said that they were VERY friendly to tourists. He said they also almost always spoke English too.

    To give an idea, he told me he'd be walking down the street and see a gigantic blonde male walking towards him and the guy would smile, wave, and say hello. I bring up the male thing because even in the US, which is known for being "friendly", I don't see men going out of their way to say hello to random strangers. Especially if it's another man. He said it happened over and over to him too, both men and women. Very nice and friendly people.

  18. #18
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    Re: Language problems

    Some said here that a lot of people talk good English in Germany. Probably, when it comes to business field, I would say, that is true. But honestly, when I moved here, I thought that communication would never be a problem since I know English and as far as I know, English is a universal language and it would be good enough to communicate then even here in Germany, but after a week or so, I found out that a lot of people can not actually communicate in English that good, especially if you are based in a small town like me. Germany when it comes to its population demographic, there are more older people than younger ones, and most of these people know a very little English and worst, they sometimes speak only in dialect. Would you believe that even going to the bakery or buy a bread was a problem with me? I would try to speak in English but they would just answer me in German, that was really depressing at first.

    That is why I decided to deepen my knowledge in German language, I went to school, talk German at home, watched a lot of translated movies and read a lot of books. I became more sociable as well, talking to natives, that way I learned the language. Now I find it much easier to communicate, plus, I do not have a problem anymore going to bakery!

  19. #19
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    Re: Language problems

    I think that for tourist purpose only you can get by with English, as I did. But if I were to go to Germany for business I would definitely hire an interpret as I wouldn't like any misunderstandings. I should mention that I stayed in a very small motel (family business) where the owners spoke no English and I spoke no German but we got along just fine ) Sign language and everything. Great experience, I would do it again in a heart beat.

  20. #20
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    Re: Language problems

    Since most Germans nowadays knows how to speak English I am sure you can communicate with them somehow in anyway. For sure most businessmen in their place are good in English too but to be sure try to study some few basic words and phrases that you can use when making a conversation with them and it will help a lot.

  21. #21
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    Re: Language problems

    Actually most germans speak english! So I'd not worrry about the language barrier at all, specially if you go to places like Berlin. Besides most germans take english at school, specially the youngest generations So I really don't think you need to know a word of german to get around. You might want to stay away from immigrants tho, since sometimes they don't know english only german and their native language.

 

 

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