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The importance of distinguishing between German from Germany and from Switzerland.

In the world of translations, understanding the nuances between different variants of the same language is crucial. For German, one of the most important distinctions is between German from Germany and German from Switzerland, known for its “Helvetisms.” At MPS Translations, we recognize the importance of these differences and how they impact the accuracy and effectiveness of translations. In this article, we will explore what Helvetisms are and why it is vital to distinguish between these two variants of German.

What Are Helvetisms?

Helvetisms are words, expressions, and grammatical structures specific to Swiss German. Although Swiss German shares many similarities with standard German from Germany, these differences can be significant in certain contexts. Helvetisms encompass specific vocabulary as well as peculiarities in spelling and grammatical usage.

Key Differences Between German from Germany and German from Switzerland

  1. Vocabulary

One of the most notable aspects of Helvetisms is the use of different vocabulary. Here is a more extensive list of common examples:

  • “Velo” (in Switzerland) versus “Fahrrad” (in Germany) for a bicycle.
  • “Spital” (in Switzerland) versus “Krankenhaus” (in Germany) for a hospital.
  • “Billet” (in Switzerland) versus “Fahrkarte” (in Germany) for a train or bus ticket.
  • “Abwart” (in Switzerland) versus “Hausmeister” (in Germany) for a janitor.
  • “Backpulver” (in Switzerland) versus “Backpulver” (in Germany), although both use the same word, in Switzerland it specifically refers to baking powder while in Germany it can include chemical leavening agents.
  • “Müesli” (in Switzerland) versus “Müsli” (in Germany) for breakfast cereal.
  • “Pärke” (in Switzerland) versus “Parks” (in Germany) for parks.

These differences in vocabulary not only affect comprehension but can also change the perception and effectiveness of communication.


Spelling also varies between the two variants. A prominent example is the use of the letter “ß” (eszett) in Germany, which is replaced by “ss” in Switzerland. For example:

  • “Straße” (in Germany) becomes “Strasse” (in Switzerland).
  • “Groß” (in Germany) becomes “Gross” (in Switzerland).
  1. Grammar and Style

There are grammatical and stylistic differences that can influence the clarity and naturalness of the text. These nuances are important in formal and legal documents, where precision is key.

The Importance of Recognizing These Differences in Translations

  1. Accuracy and Clarity

Using the correct variant of German ensures that the text is clear and precise for the target audience. A document intended for a Swiss audience should reflect the use of Helvetisms to ensure it is correctly understood and feels authentic.

  1. Credibility and Professionalism

Adapting the language to local norms and preferences demonstrates professionalism and attention to detail. This is especially relevant in fields such as legal, medical, and financial, where linguistic accuracy is critical.

  1. Regulatory Compliance

In some cases, using the correct variant of German is a regulatory requirement. For example, official documents and governmental communications in Switzerland must follow the specific linguistic guidelines established by the Swiss administration, as detailed in the guidelines document.

How MPS Translations Can Help

At MPS Translations, we have native and specialized translators who understand the differences between German from Germany and German from Switzerland. We offer:

  • Precise and Adapted Translations: We ensure that each translation reflects the appropriate variant of German for the target audience.
  • Local Expertise: Our translators know the local norms and linguistic preferences, ensuring consistency and accuracy.
  • Professional and Timely Service: We deliver high-quality translations within agreed deadlines, helping our clients meet their communication and regulatory needs.


Distinguishing between German from Germany and German from Switzerland is essential to ensure accurate and effective translations. Helvetisms play a crucial role in this differentiation. At MPS Translations, we are committed to providing translations that respect these differences, ensuring clarity, precision, and professionalism. For more information or to request a quote, contact us today.