English job titles in Austrian/Englischsprachige Berufsbezeichnungen in Österreich

kohlehydrat reports that the Austrian Verfassungsgerichtshof (Constitutional Court of Appeal) is to consider the use of English job titles. The postal workers’ union has filed a constitutional complaint.

bq. Geht es den Anglizismen an den Kragen?
Der Verfassungsgerichtshof soll über englische Berufsbezeichnungen entscheiden. Die Postgewerkschafter haben eine Beschwerde eingebracht. Welche Chance hat diese Beschwerde?

Elsewhere, Werner Butschek, a Personalberater (career adviser?) is quoted, saying the new titles are a good thing. Some of them, he says, represent new jobs; others are now internationally understood; they also help advertise a company, and they make staff feel more important and work better.

I do find this kind of thing irritating. I agree with kohlehydrat that foreign words should not be imported just because they are fashionable or if they sound artificial.

If I understand the articles right, the new terms include CEO, Key Account Manager, Controller, Sales Manager

bq. Wir stehen vor dem Problem, dass vielfach unsere Bediensteten sich ein Wörterbuch für Wirtschaftsenglisch kaufen müssen, damit sie verstehen, was da in dem Schreiben überhaupt drinnen steht, in dem Schreiben oder vor allem in dem Bescheid, den sie gekriegt haben. Früher haben wir zum Beispiel eine Personalstelle gehabt, heute heißt das ‘Human Resources’. Einer, der früher in einer technischen Dienststelle gearbeitet hat, dessen Dienststelle heißt jetzt ‘Customer-Service-Ordering’ – in dem Fall ‘liance’ noch als Beisatz”, so Zangerle.

(We are confronted with the problem that our employees often have to buy a dictionary of economic English so they can understand what is in the letter or notification they have received).

4 thoughts on “English job titles in Austrian/Englischsprachige Berufsbezeichnungen in Österreich

  1. My eye was switching slowly between German and English today and I glossed “Personalberater” as “personal berater” (i.e., one who berates), which would fit at least one guidance counselor I met in university: “What are you going to do with your life?!”

  2. Not sure what the difference is between Controller and Auditor, apart from the inflated cost of correspondence courses and seminars on ‘Controlling’. The misused Eng. term looks to the uninitiated like anything from passport control to ‘anger management programs’ for out-of-control husbands and dangerous male prisoners.

    As the majority of foreigners in Austria are from Turkey or Eastern Europe/ex-Yugoslavia, Austrian trend-setters should really start brushing up their Turkish, Serb and Croat etc. instead of bruising the Eng. language – a point that doesn’t go down too well, except with progressive school-teachers in Eastern (Slovenian, Czech, Slovak & Hungarian) border areas – cf. the secondary school-teachers’ minority languages program that started years ago in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

  3. @ Carter: yes, I see your point. I had some strange careers advice that I believed: ‘There are no jobs in languages for women’ – maybe it was partly true.

    @AMM: I know nothing about the minority language programs except that there was a man in my Turkish class who had been persuaded to join in order to help his nephew, who was 8, I think, and who was being given Turkish lessons at school. He didn’t stay long! Are Austrians as keen as Germans on helping their children with their school lessons?

  4. Difficult to generalise about helping with school homework. Judging from our neighbours, fathers scarper pretty sharpishly evenings to the Bierinsel bars on virutally every street-corner.

    Most kids of mixed/foreign parentage around here are brought up bilingually. The German ‘Grauer Wolf’ Attatürk Nationalist speak-Turkish-only movement back in Germany doesn’t seem to have caught on across the Austrian border.

    Mothers visiting the Knödelschule/dumpling domestic science college in Vienna sure pass on the knowledge to their daughters – as my big gut will attest.

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