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Why You Won’t Be Able to Buy a Property in Germany Without German Translation Services

Germany is a popular investment target of U.S. entrepreneurs. The country is the biggest economy in the EU, a stable democracy, and has excellent political, social, and economic connections to the U.S. There are many reasons why people choose to buy a property in the Federal Republic — leisure, business purposes such as expansion and more.

Whatever your reasons for buying real estate in Germany, be prepared for a bumpy and bureaucratic ride, as you will have to cope with regulations different from those you know from the United States. As far as your German proficiency is concerned, you will only be able to buy a house, a flat, or office space on your own in Germany if you speak the language at a fairly high level — as they say, “business fluent.”

If this is not the case, you better start looking for a professional German translator who is not afraid of dealing with highly specialized legal content.

The German translators at Teck Language Solutions stay at your service in the U.S. and Germany to translate purchase and sales contracts and other legal content concerning property purchases.

But having a German translator at your side alone will not be sufficient to sign legally binding contracts under German law.

Why is that?

In Germany, you sign any property or real estate purchase agreement in front of a notary public. The notary public has a legal obligation to ascertain that you understand the contract you are signing. And as the official language of Germany is German, you won’t be able to sign a real estate purchase agreement written in English. Even if the notary public speaks and understands English, it is not how it works. So what are your options? And more importantly, what is required by the law?

If you don’t speak German, you must have the legal paperwork translated by a sworn German translator. Let’s stop here for a moment.

What is a sworn translator in Germany?

Germany has precise laws on certified translations. Sworn translators can only make these. A sworn translator is appointed by a court (more specifically, by the Chairman of the court) after he or she has either successfully passed a state examination or has successfully applied for a license. In all of these cases, the responsible court (the regional courts, called “Landgericht“) will endow the translator with a sworn German translator’s rights, meaning he or she will be able to certify translations that are officially accepted in Germany. We cannot stress enough at this point, only a certified translation issued by a sworn translator under German law will officially be accepted in Germany. There is no shortcut here.

An alternative to the above process would be if you take a German interpreter to the notary appointment who will translate for you the legal contents orally. There are, however, many problems with this approach. First of all, you will have to process many highly specialized legal data spontaneously, which might be a hard nut to crack, even for an experienced legal professional. So it is better to give yourself time to understand and maybe discuss the content and meaning of the real estate purchase agreement and have it translated in advance.

This way, you will also be able to request changes and ask for clarification, i.e., concerning specific legal terms. You will appear at the notary public appointment in a much more prepared manner.

In some cases, even if you had the agreement translated with certification, the notary public will request that you take a translator with you if he or she has the feeling that you don’t understand the German language at an adequate level. In this case, they might request you to bring a sworn interpreter. A simple liaison or company interpreter will be sufficient in some other cases. This depends mostly on the circumstances.

Teck Language Solutions offers you the advantage of contacting court interpreters in Germany in almost all regions. Thereby we can send you a tried-and-tested local German interpreter, which of course will save you immense costs.

If you are buying real estate in Germany, our German translation services are the right choice.

Germany has indeed a lot of beautiful landscapes where you can enjoy the proximity of beautiful and peaceful nature. Whether your dream is to buy a small hut in the Bavarian Alps to enjoy a portion of tranquility, or you are interested in the country for business reasons, we have suitable solutions for each of these cases, and of course, for everything in between. Contact us and ask for further information on our German translation services for real estate purchases in German or any other reasons.

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