Guten Tag! We bring you to the land of delicious wurst and beer cheaper than water. Where words are notoriously as long as string beans. And one with a mindboggling grammatical system where “der”, “das”, “dem”, “den” and “die” all simply means “the” in English. Though the German language, is relatively complex to master, it is spoken by approximately 130 million people over 42 countries. Translation to German is thus, of course always in demand.

As far as stereotypes go, German is known to be harsh-sounding. But in truth, the language is as beautifully poetic as Beethoven’s and Bach’s masterpieces. If you are reading this article, you might be in search of the best solution for translation to German.

This article will help you to weigh out the best “translation to German” solution that will suit your purpose. It will also discuss pitfalls in each method. We’ll equip you with effective tips on how to pick the best German translators out of the world’s haystack.

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This post has been updated in October 2021.

The Need for Translation to German

Business or pleasure, language is no longer a barrier in today’s modern world. Six countries have adopted German as an official language. They are Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein. All of which are part of the European Union except for Switzerland. Here are some main reasons why German is such a key language in today’s era.

Marketing Localization

Looking to bring your brand on the global stage? With the UK’s departure from the EU, an opportunity arises in setting a new vision of how the EU economy will thrive. With a stable economy generating $22 trillion, the EU is second place in the world’s economic output after China. In addition, both Germany and Switzerland hold a high reputation for quality products and medical innovation.

To penetrate these secure markets, localization is key. A study on language and cultural effects on consumer behavior showed that both play an effective role in marketing. That includes accurate language structure and cultural nuances. It hence goes without saying that good translation to German is crucial. That is to successfully position your brand, especially in the European continent.

Business Communication

There is no lack of bi-lingual skills among the Germans. But to quote Nelson Mandela, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, it goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” In most cases, communication in one’s native language proves to be more effective and persuasive. Such sincerity is essential, especially in the ever-competitive corporate world. It shows an effort to build a rapport and business relationship that can stand the test of time.

When incorporating your company into new territories, it is expected that much paperwork has to be done. In the case of most countries, paperwork submitted has to be in the official language of the region. Here’s where professionally accurate translation to German comes into play.

Medical Industry

Everyone is no stranger to international pharmaceutical giants such as Abbott and Roche. Countries like Germany and Switzerland are the hub of medical and biotechnological innovation. Germany’s medical device sector ranks number three in the world after America and China. It has reached €27.6 billion in sales which constitutes 10.2% of the industry. Clinical trials come with the prerequisite to many new innovations. This means mountains of paperwork with the demand for translation to German to comply with the strict ethical and review guidelines that govern the industry. Certified and back translation might even be required in some cases as proof of linguistic accuracy. With great power to heal comes great responsibility! When lives are at stake, accurate translation plays a vital role in both the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.


To subtitle or to dub? That is often the big question. And the answer comes with the top rule of thumb: knowing thy market. The usual options are either visual or audio translation. With audio comes more effort and consideration to preserve the authenticity of the media. Such include choosing a dialect and accent in which a voice over should be recorded. For more information on German voice over, visit this page to learn about German dialects and casting tips. In the case of Germany, dubbing is a preference ranked higher than all other translation methods. It is trending preference preferred more so in the country than any other parts of Europe.

Types of German Translation

More often than not, one only dives into understanding translation methods when the need arises. Here are the different options you may choose from:

german to english translation for language localization

Online Translation

The first thing that comes to the mind of anyone requiring urgent and makeshift translation is Google Translate. Online translators like Google, Lexicool, and DeepL all provide an instantaneous and free written translation. Google translates over 100 major languages. Online translators are machine translators that usually interpret your input in two steps. First, the original content is translated into English. Then it is translated again from English to German.

Pros of Online Translation

  • Most often cost-free.
  • Instant translation.
  • Convenient and accessible with any internet browser.
  • Multiple ways to input content including audio and images.

Cons of Online Translation

  • Lack of human intuition.
  • Inability to translate tones, nuances, and cultural references accurately.
  • It often butchers poems, rhymes, idioms, and slogans.
  • A literal translation may result in content not making sense.
  • Sentence structure may appear awkward due to the different design of languages and the requirement for a two-step translation.
  • No room for creativity and revisions.

When to Choose Online Translation

  • For non-official translation such as personal communication.
  • For quick comprehension of text such as those on product packaging and recipes.
  • A non-accurate translation that renders a general meaning.
  • When a bulk translation is required with a small allocation of budget. (Output can simply be later reviewed by a human translator).

Certified Translation

Certified translators are sometimes requested. What this means is that the translation to German has been certified accurate by an accredited translator who fulfills the qualification requirements of a country. In most cases, you will receive a statement of the translator’s qualifications, a statement to confirm the accuracy of the translation and the translator’s name, signature, and date. The translation is not necessarily done by the certified translator. He or she will proofread the transcript and provide the required proof of accuracy.

Pros of Certified Translation

  • Utmost accuracy.
  • Recognized by most governmental bodies and institutions.

Cons of Certified Translation

  • It can be costly.
  • Requires variable turn-over time
  • More often than not have to be physically done to provide an original signature.
  • Rigid, literal and little room for creative translation.

When to Choose Certified Translation

  • Legal documents required for court.
  • Certificates such as those of marriage, birth, and education required for immigration or visa applications.
  • Regulatory documentation such as research, clinical trials, protocols, and informed consent.
  • Criminal record checks.
  • Official business documents.

Notarized Translation

Sometimes, an extra step is required after a certified translation is handed over. This involves the notary public. The notary public requires someone who has been officially authorized by the government to oversee the authentication of the document. The German translator swears an oath of accuracy on the translation.

Pros of Notarized Translation

  • Utmost accuracy.
  • Recognized by most governmental bodies and institutions.

Cons of Notarized Translation

  • Similar to that of a certified translator’s.
  • Mostly not applicable as the notary does not do the translation. It is simply an additional requirement that might need to be added.

When to Choose Notarized Translation

  • Legal documents required for court.
  • Certificates such as those of marriage, birth, and education required for immigration or visa applications.
  • Regulatory documentation such as research, clinical trials, protocols, and informed consent.
  • Criminal record checks.
  • Official business documents.

Professional Translation

What makes a professional German translator? Usually one with strong linguistic skills and native to the German language. One who has the ability to understand the tone and nuances of the original text. This means that he or she is able to substitute words and phrases when required to preserve the authenticity of the message. Most professional translators hand over high-quality work that has been proof-read and formatted. Here’s a quick cheat! Platforms like this one ensure that you will be hiring a trustworthy and qualified translator. It guarantees quality assurance at an affordable rate, and within a quick time-frame.

Pros of Professional Translation

  • Accurate translation.
  • Able to interject human instinct, perspective, and creativity in expression.
  • Ability to translate nuances and include cultural references according to project requirements.
  • It can be affordable.
  • Feedback can be given. Revisions can be done in most cases.

Cons of Professional Translation

  • Trial and error to find a good translator.
  • It can end up being a waste of time and money if the translator is inapt.
  • Subject to human error on grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and vocabulary use.
  • Price can be widely variable.
  • Turn over time is widely variable.

When to Choose Professional Translation

  • Localization of marketing materials such as print ads, brochures, websites, and social media content.
  • Product packaging.
  • Instructional booklets and technical guides.
  • Books and software.
  • Situations requiring some mediation to preserve the tonality of the message.
  • Training materials or presentations.

Back Translation

Back translation is simply the reverse of translation. If you already have a document translated to German from English, back translation simply converts it back to English. Why bother? The purpose of a back-translated text is to verify the accuracy of the first translation (which in this case is from English to German). The back-translated result is never exactly the same as the original text as different translators have a different command of language.

Pros of Back Translation

  • Used to verify the accuracy of a new translator when you do not know the language.
  • To detect any ambiguity that might be misinterpreted in the original message.

Cons of Back Translation

  • Extra budget required to do this quality-assurance check.
  • More time required with the extra step of translation.

When to Use a Back-Translator

  • To verify the capabilities of a newly hired translator.
  • Instructional manuals of medical and technical devices.
  • Documentation required by review boards or ethics committee
  • When certain jurisdictional legal and regulatory institutions require.

translating to german from english

Choosing Translation Methods

There are many ways to get to your goal, all of which have drastic differences in time frame and cost. The above description of each method should provide a clear idea on which you should choose. But if you are still uncertain, consider the factors below.

What type of document are you translating?

The purpose of your document will determine the type of translation you need. Governmental and legal documents for applications usually require a certified or notarized translation. Whereas, online translators are admissible for non-formal communication.

Do you have a large budget allocated?

Your budget should match the accuracy required for the translation to German.  As a result, it is impractical to expect an accurate translation for a marketing campaign without a budget.

What is the level of accuracy you require?

Consider the purpose of your project and deliberate if you prioritize accuracy over cost. For mass media and official documentation, accuracy is a must.

What is your time frame?

If you require a more accurate translation, make sure you plan ahead. Set aside enough time for the translation project.

Do you have more than one project requiring translation to German?

If you find a great translator, stick to him or her. The rule of thumb is to make sure your translator is a bi-lingual native German speaker. One who can swing between both languages with ease. Furthermore, it’s also a good idea to foresee your needs to gain some power in negotiation. Some translators will charge a cheaper rate in order to retain clients for more frequent projects.

Enquire Before You Hire

Translation to German is not a difficult thing to achieve as Deutsche is a major language. In general, most governments accept and recognize standard German. However, when it comes to localization, you might also wish to take into account regional dialects. Choosing to outsource your project to a translator? Finding a good translator is tough these days. Follow our tips above for a more cost-effective and accurate translation to German.

Find the right translator today at Bunny Studio!