Public & Academic/News/ Should Germany make English an official second language? We posed this question to Twitter, and here’s what people said By Miriam Partington in Berlin 16 February 2023 \Startup Life UK government to reform 'equity for visas' residency application system By Tim Smith and Zosia Wanat 22 March 2023 Public & Academic/News/ Should Germany make English an official second language? We posed this question to Twitter, and here’s what people said By Miriam Partington in Berlin 16 February 2023 Tech may be the de facto language for many of Germany’s tech scaleups. But we’re sure more than a few Sifted readers will agree the language barrier is daunting when relocating. Completing forms in bureaucratic German — that not even Germans themselves can understand at times — is a key obstacle for foreigners seeking to move to the country. So should Germany — Europe’s second biggest tech ecosystem — make English a second administrative language? That’s a suggestion floated by politicians from one of Germany’s governing parties to draw skilled workers from abroad and tackle the country’s labour shortage, The Guardian reported on Friday. The government wants to bring in 400k people to fill the gap — many of which, of course, are in IT. Sifted took this question to Twitter yesterday — and received an overwhelming number of responses. Here are a few. Yes, Germany absolutely should make English an official second language To me it’s a great idea, because I’ve seen how unfriendly the German market can be even to skilled laborers by virtue of super complicated bureaucracy and formal language barriers in companies. Even in tech or finance sectors that are globally English dominated. — Carlos Luis Figueredo (@clfigueredo) February 13, 2023 Would be a great idea and definitely help attracting talent. It’s already one of the biggest advantages of Berlin today that everyone is speaking English — Rasmus Rothe (@rasmusrothe) February 13, 2023 Nope, they should not Bad idea. Language is not just words, but it captures a way of seeing the world too. Instead, let’s encourage our citizens to be curious about other cultures, and help them to learn different kinds of languages. — Pilar Orti (@PilarOrti) February 13, 2023 It wouldn’t make much difference Can’t see how this would help. First, the real official second language would have to be Turkish or Arabic. Second, under the Framework Convention on Minority Rights, everyone has the right to speak their own language anyhow. They should rather work on accepting more degrees. — Tina Lee (@tinaleeinberlin) February 13, 2023 It’d just be papering over cultural and bureaucratic issues with something no state outside Berlin would even entertain in the first place—for those exact reasons. — Sean Williams (@swilliamsjourno) February 13, 2023 Maybe focus on tackling other things first… They could start by fixing up some startup friendly employment and biz bureaucracy laws — Francesco Perticarari 🇺🇦 (@francesco_srv) February 13, 2023 It will either take too long, or not happen altogether Wouldn’t making it “official” mean also: – translate all bureaucracy in Eng – that all public employees should speak it fluently? – That all IT Systems (at least at the front end) should also be in English? If so, difficult to implement in a reasonable time. — Davide Rovera (he/him) (@darovera) February 13, 2023 Miriam Partington is Sifted’s DACH correspondent. She also covers future of work, coauthors Sifted’s Startup Life newsletter and tweets from @mparts_ Related Articles What’s happening to the talent market? By Connor Bilboe Click here to read more “Europe: fertile breeding ground for govtech” By Edward Elliott Click here to read more These 100 Nordic companies are set to change the world By Mimi Billing Click here to read more Voi under attack from Swedish agency after scooter death By Mimi Billing Click here to read more Most Read 1 \Startup Life UK government to reform ‘equity for visas’ residency application system 2 \Fintech Is Revolut really worth $33bn right now? 3 \Startup Life Techstars unexpectedly pulls out of Sweden mid-programme 4 \Deeptech The other funding gap: it’s not just unicorns that are leaving Europe 5 \Deeptech ‘There’s going to be a bloodbath’ — is generative AI a bubble?