German Translation and Startup Ecosystem

Published on March 20, 2019

By Marcos Dinnerstein

Summary: A case for the German translation of content and a look at the German startup ecosystems in various German cities. How are they different from US startup hubs? Why is a German translation of your content desirable?

German translation of English content is one of the most requested language pairs on MotaWord. Recently I attended an accelerator demo day for New York City’s German Accelerator. My hope was to see a representative range of German startups. A tall order when you think that accelerators’ cohorts don’t conveniently organize their startups as representatives of a country or industry. So real research into the German startup ecosystem was in order in an effort to understand whether German startups would also need German into English translation of their content (or any other language for that matter). I can safely report the pitches from the German companies I saw had been translated into flawless English.

German Startup Stats at a Glance
6,000 - 7,000 Startups in Germany (Startup Guide)
Nearly 30% of startup employees are non-German

The Three Main Legal Structures of Companies in Germany:

  1. Sole proprietorship (Einzelunternehmen) 
  2. Limited Liability Company (GmbH)
  3. Civil law partnership (GbR)
Germany has many programs to support startups, including the IBB, Berlin’s business development bank. Make sure some of that support goes to localizing your content with German translations of your marketing materials!

More on setting up a business in Berlin here: What to know about setting up a company in Berlin

City Profiles  (Global Startup Ecosystem 2018 ReportStartup GuideValuer.ai)

  • Berlin leads Germany with FinTech companies including consumer banking and B2B platforms as well as companies working on IoT (Internet of Things). Over the next ten years, this sector is expected to add 40,000 jobs. The German startup ecosystem gets support from corporate and government organizations, including industrial giant Bosch. With three major universities and the support of Bayer and Pfizer, Life Science German startups in Berlin also have a rich environment in which to grow.

  • Munich, Germany’s 3rd largest city, is also third in funding startups. In 2017 17,000 new businesses were registered in Munich. FinTech, healthcare, and mobility lead the startup sectors in this city. Budding entrepreneurs are supported by the local universities, including The Technical University of Munich (TUM), Munich University of Applied Sciences (MUAS) and the Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship (SCE).

  • Hamburg is home to roughly 400 startups, coworking spaces, and programs and has headquarters for Google, Facebook, Hootsuite, and Yelp. The range of Hamburg’s startup industries includes logistics, media life sciences, aviation, the blockchain, fintech, and e-commerce.
Other important German startup cities are Cologne, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, and Karlsruhe.

What cultural differences exist between the US and Germany? The video below asserts that Germany is more risk-averse than the US. In particular German venture capital is averse to risk. Video: German versus American startup culture | Made in Germany

Maybe so, but generalizing has its dangers. The startup culture of Silicon Valley and New York City are very different so we have to be careful about the conclusions we draw. This reminds me of a favorite cautionary quote on this topic: “All models are wrong. Some are useful”

You might ask, “How does this help my company looking to enter the German market?” The answer: Remember that different markets have different requirements to succeed. That means, if you are serious about selling in Germany, you’ll need to localize your web content with a German translation for this market. MotaWord has years of experience delivering high-quality localized translations in over 90 languages. Read how we can help your company successfully enter new markets.

Why Should You Run Your Website Localization Project On MotaWord

To see just how easy and affordable it is to get a quality German translation for your website go MotaWord for a free quote 24/7.

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