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ABOUT GERMAN continued




IMPORTANT CULTURAL DIFFERENCES
In doing business with the Germanic cultures, one major trait is worth remembering and building into any conversation, marketing plan or training program. The German people have a sincere objection to groundless hype. Although this is easy to say in writing, American marketing is built upon what many Germans would call hype. That which the U.S. calls "branding" can be viewed as exhibitionism and aggressiveness by Germanic cultures. A more modest approach, lower key and classier, often has more appeal and impact than emotional advertising, self-praise or marketing enthusiasm. In fact, the American approach to sales can actually drive the Germans away in droves.

This antipathy for hype affects the writing of all marketing materials, advertising and press releases. It also affects artwork and font choice, favoring straightforward fonts like Arial, and avoiding fonts with "squiggle" ends to their letters such as Times, Italics, plus Bold and other font styles and features. German graphics tend to be a bit brighter, with clearer color contrast, not murky or romantic.

In many cases, the actual content might benefit from some re-writing for the audience, particularly to tone down adjectives such as "the best", "top", "outstanding", "finest" and other superlatives.

NEUTRAL AND ACROSS-BORDER GERMAN

It is understood across the German speaking world that official German translation be in High German, unless directly geared toward a dialect target for advertising or marketing within the other countries. On the other hand, use of a professional voice talent with a broadcast accent from the dialect target country will be warmly welcomed and positively impact sales in its region.

DIALECT TRANSLATIONS:

Marketing material or a website translation into multiple dialects has its merits, and is worth considering. For a website, there is a simple piece of web programming code that will make the proper dialect appear automatically to the visitor, just as though that dialect were the original site language. However, a Multi-Dialect Site (a site translated several times for different dialects) does not always mean increased sales. Here, return on investment is an important factor. Whether or not the product itself attracts sales can not be totally controlled by dialect or any other localization factor. If "sales" is the goal, @I.S. does not recommend a leap into multiple-dialect translations, nor consider multiple dialect translation as the "secret to sales" in the German-speaking world.

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