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Seven Hundred Years And Counting

06th June 2019

When British companies export to Germany, they may not realise that they're helping to sustain a 700 year partnership.

At Conversis we believe the surest way to succeed is to build lasting relationships with like-minded partners. Britain’s trade relationship with Germany underlines that point and explains why our German-speaking project managers and sector-specialist German translators are never short of work. When British companies take their products to market in Germany they might not realise that they are continuing a trade partnership that extends back seven hundred years.

Today Bremen and Hamburg are busy ports and thriving manufacturing hubs. They are also founder members of the Hanseatic League of German towns that began trading internationally in the late Middle Ages. By 1320 this group had a base in London at the site where Cannon Street railway station now stands. It’s unlikely that these trade pioneers could have imagined a future in which rail travel and air travel would be a daily reality, but their work is remembered today with a commemorative plaque at Cannon Street station and with the airline Lufthansa literally translating as “Air Hansa”.

As eager as British exporters are to make inroads with rising economies such as Brazil, India and China, we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of our longest standing partner. In 2018 Germany ranked second only to the United States as an importer of British goods, accounting for a total of £37 billion, just under 10% of our total global exports. Expansion has been maintained in Germany’s aerospace industry since the 1990s with strong growth in civil, military and space sectors. Rolls-Royce, one of the most famous standard bearers for British quality, is also a fine example of Anglo-German cooperation. Since 1998 BMW has owned licensing rights to the Rolls-Royce brand name and logo.

Because so many Germans in public life speak good English, there’s a temptation to ignore possible communication issues. When it comes to corporate translation, though, even the slightest misunderstanding can be costly. A key element in German website localization is a focus on the values of self-reliance, achievement, independence and individual freedom. Well-chosen German phrases will echo those values, just as poor choices will flout them and alienate potential customers. And Germany offers many potential customers. A highly educated population of 82 million has embraced e-commerce. This consumer group is discerning and price conscious, and they expect an intelligent, persuasive bid for their custom.

For clients prioritising business to business communication with German partners Conversis delivers pinpoint accuracy in translation of maintenance manuals, technical data sheets, health and safety documents and training material. Germany’s stellar reputation in highly specialised fields such as aerospace and automotive engineering is matched by our own. For those who want to appeal directly to German consumers, a Conversis website translation will help you win their hearts, minds and money.

When the UK began trading with Germany neither country existed in a form that we’d recognise today. People of both nations quickly realised what they had to gain by working together. To fully embrace trade opportunities with our oldest partner, you need to fully embrace their language and culture. Conversis is here to help you do exactly that.


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