Since a lot of people speak English in both Germany and Austria, do you actually need to learn Business German? The short answer is no, you don’t have to. If you are visiting Germany every now and then English would probably do in most cases.
Unfortunately, it does. Actually in any language and in any given context a specify language is used. In a normal context that would be the very language itself plus some technical terms which are not used outside that context. Business German however consists of German grammar and a lot of English terms mixed into the German language. Some of these words aren’t English at all such as beamer, which is the projector that you can connect to a computer or a handy, which is a cellphone.
Other English words are subdued to conjugation and declension. So, ‘gedownloadet’ would be the participle ‘downloaded’ or ‘des Managements’ is not the plural of management but the genitive meaning ‘of the management’.
Most of the words borrowed from English are neuter thus having the article ‘das’. Sometimes, however, the article of the English word is derived from the German word. Two examples for that would be ‘der Style’ where ‘der Stil’ is the German word, or ‘der Computer’ which is a synonym for ‘der Rechner’.
And there are some English words used in Business German where nobody knows why the respective gender is used. ‘der Look’ is such a word, the German translation is not ‘der’ but ‘das Aussehen’.
The funniest thing about Business German, however, is the pronunciation of the English words. Well, yes, we do pronounce them “the English way” but we add our own accent to it. That is really not a big deal. Even when spoken with a German accent these words are easily understood by any native (and non-native) speaker. The funny aspect about it is that one should not try to use a British or an American accent. It just doesn’t sound well. For our German ears it is like an interference in the German flow of the sentence.
German speakers who have lived an English speaking country and therefore know how to speak with a native English accent, should really avoid to pronounce the words properly. It sounds a little posh or snobbish. Well, that’s not your problem, it is definitely ours. With this in mind, it sounds even worse to us when English speaker are unable to adopt the German accent. Believe me, ‘America’ sounds a lot different from ‘Amerika’.
If this is not enough for you, here are 21 phrases to help you get on in a German office from the local.de