Privacy and language in German localization

Libor Safar
Multilingual January/February 2017
Core Focus

Few countries may care about privacy more than Germany. Data privacy and protection (Datenschutz) are hot topics, and consumers take very seriously the way their personally identifiable information is collected, managed, stored and shared — and how much they are actually willing to provide. This is one of the reasons why, for instance, Google Street View has only very limited availability there.

Driven by this sentiment, Germany has beefed up its own Federal Data Protection Act, emerged as a strong advocate of strict data protection regulations at the EU level, and worked hard to shape the new rules that govern data transfers between the United States and the EU....

How do you make sure your German localization is just right? German is one of the languages that tends to borrow foreign words — these days mostly English — fairly liberally. But a heavy use of English words in German sentences is mockingly called “Denglisch” (Deutsch and Englisch). It may amuse some, but it bemuses many others who prefer the more traditional ways, and there are popular movements to resist this trend.

While some loanwords have become fully standard in German, some are more or less nuanced equivalents of other established German words, while others are new or simply generational and preferential, and only time will tell if they get more universally accepted.

Unlike in other countries such as France, there is no one all-encompassing institution governing the language use in German-speaking countries, though there are groups such as the Council for German Orthography (Rat für deutsche Rechtschreibung) and the Institute of German Language (Institut für Deutsche Sprache). The appropriate approach to using English loanwords in German is really driven by the target audience, the demographics and by extension the industry and the specific context....