When thinking about learning a new language to further your career, work in a new industry or explore new business opportunities, the first and most difficult step can be deciding which one to choose. German has had a long-standing, prominent role in international business throughout the years but there has steady decline in students learning the language due to the false notion that “all Germans speak English”. If you are still deciding which language to learn from a business point of view, here are a few reasons why German is still one of the best choices:

West Berlin Ⅱ

1. Germany has the largest economy in Europe and the fourth largest in the world. It is also the second largest exporter and has a major role in international business – according to Forbes Magazine, 12 out of the worlds’ 100 biggest companies are German or Swiss.

Chancellor Angela Merkel in London (27 February 2014)

2. Germany is the UK’s biggest trading partner, with German exports to the UK totalling €73 billion and British exports to Germany €44 billion in 2012. German direct and indirect investments in the UK reached a value of €164 billion in 2011.

Fremont, CA Small Business Crawl (Irvington District)

3. Foreign language skills will boost trade. 55% of goods and services exported from the UK go to the EU but, surprisingly, around 80% of Britain’s export managers are unable to do business in a foreign language. It is estimated that a lack of language skills results in a loss of around £7.3 billion each year for the UK economy. As Germany has the biggest economy in Europe, skills in German are highly desirable for any company interested in exporting.

Group of happy business people clapping their hands

4. 45% of UK employers rate German as useful for their business, classing it as more useful than Spanish or Mandarin (CBI/Pearson 2013). In fact, 7/10 businesses say they consider skills in another foreign language useful.

Castelletto - Lake Garda - flags of Europe

5. German is the most widely spoken native language across the EU, with 16% of EU citizens speaking German as their mother tongue. It is the main language of around 100 million Europeans, mainly across Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, where it is an official language. It is also spoken as a native language in parts of Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and France among others.

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6. German companies account for over 315,000 British jobs. The offices of leading German banking and insurance companies are based in the UK as well as prominent German manufacturing premises.

Berlin Startup Tour

7. 4 in 10 of the most innovative companies in the world are German and they have the 3rd highest number of patent applications in the world. Germany also exports more high-tech products than any other country outside the US.

Scientist in Fabrikstrasse 22

8. Germany is home to many of the world’s leading research facilities. Scientists from German-speaking countries have won dozens of Nobel prizes in physics, chemistry and medicine. As German is the second most commonly used scientific language in the world, understanding the language will give you quicker access to cutting-edge research and development.

9. Learning German is easier than you think. As English and German share many similarities, it is possible to make rapid progress in the language as you will come across terms you already know, for example: Haus = house, Name = name, Singen = to sing, Hand = hand, and so on.

European Parliament Strasbourg

10. You can represent the UK on an international level. Britain is notoriously under-represented in terms of EU employees which is, in part, due to the lack of foreign language skills required to work in EU institutions. As German is the most widely spoken native language in the EU, being able to communicate in the language is highly advantageous.

At inlingua Edinburgh, we offer a range of German classes to suit all levels from Beginners German to Advanced. Here, you can learn German in small groups of a maximum of 10 students in classes led by a qualified native speaker.

For companies interested in German lessons for their employees, we can arrange private or group tuition, either from our school on Shandwick Place or at your office. We also offer bespoke German translation services from fully certified, professional translators.

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