written by Jacqueline Koch, translated by Eliot Reiniger and Jacqueline Koch

Freiburg – a multilingual city

Freiburg: university town and local holiday destination. What’s not to like about Freiburg, with its charming Bächle (small water-filled runnels) and its sun-kissed mountain backdrop? But what makes it so exciting for a translation office to be based in Freiburg im Breisgau? As a language service provider, we are particularly fond of Freiburg’s many facets. In terms of its multifariousness, Freiburg isn’t only characterised by its high demand for multilingualism. In particular, the different industries and areas of expertise where communication has long since ceased to take place exclusively in German frequently bring new ideas and innovation to the city.

The University of Freiburg alone attracts students and young academics from every corner of the globe. To ensure that everyone involved in joint research projects is equally informed, scientific reports are frequently translated into other languages. And if international experts who don’t speak German or English are invited to symposia, interpreters can be brought in to facilitate communication.

A popular tourist destination, Freiburg flaunts a multilingual culture even outside of the university, its proximity to the French border being a contributing factor. Companies in the hospitality and retail sectors welcome guests speaking Spanish, Italian, and many other languages on a regular basis. To ensure smooth communication, restaurants and hotels often print multilingual menus and brochures for their guests. This is part of Baden’s culture of hospitality after all.

Freiburg also shows its polyglot side when it comes to culture, offering theatrical productions in English, concerts held by international performers, and screenings of films in their original language. And for those who like it a little quieter, Freiburg’s museums offer a wide range of exhibitions, and of course information brochures and audio guides in the most widely represented languages of the visiting population.

When it comes to translating certificates or official documents into German, technical terminology from an entirely different field is required. Legal texts in particular require both advanced language skills and a thorough knowledge of the specialised terminology.

Thanks to its strong commitment to sustainability, Freiburg enjoys a reputation as a “Green City”. Renewable energies are a recurring theme at leading trade fairs, exhibitions and conferences here in Baden, attracting delegates from across Europe and even worldwide. Fundamental expertise and the appropriate technical vocabulary are also necessary for the translation and interpreting work that enables this exchange.

Companies in the medical technology sector and the pharmaceutical industry which are based in Baden-Württemberg also make use of language services. And there is no limit to the areas in which companies are active beyond the borders of German-speaking countries. From contract negotiations to general meetings with international business partners, smooth communication is essential and interpreters are indispensable. Even smaller companies in Baden like to employ translators in order to address an international audience for their websites. In a time when networking and communication primarily take place via social platforms, a multilingual online presence that captures readers’ attention in more than one language is more important than ever before.

So it’s clear why Freiburg has so much to offer. The largest city in the laidback region of Baden, it welcomes people from a great many different countries and cultural backgrounds, resulting in an assorted mix of languages in numerous fields from science and culture to industry and business.