Take the 2-minute tour ×
German Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of German wanting to discuss the finer points of the language and translation. It's 100% free, no registration required.

To finish up a letter addressed to a client, I use Best Regards, followed by my signature.

I've looked around for a direct translation, and came up with:

┌────────────────────────────────┬────────────────────┬────────────────────────────────┐
│ Location                       │  Source used       │  Translation obtained          │
├────────────────────────────────┼────────────────────┼────────────────────────────────┤
│ 1) http://dict.leo.org         │  best regards      │  mit besten Grüßen             │
├────────────────────────────────┼────────────────────┼────────────────────────────────┤
│ 2) http://translate.google.pt  │  best regards      │  beste Grüße                   │
├────────────────────────────────┼────────────────────┼────────────────────────────────┤
│ 3) http://answers.yahoo.com    │  best regards      │  mit freundlichen Grüßen       │
└────────────────────────────────┴────────────────────┴────────────────────────────────┘

1. Link to translation result at http://dict.leo.org

2. Link to translation result at http://translate.google.pt

3. Link to translation result at http://answers.yahoo.com

I'm wondering which one of these direct translations is actually accurate, to be used when finishing up a letter addressed to a client?

share|improve this question
1  
'Best regards' is actually a direct translation of the German beste Grüße - in English we would say "best wishes" or, more formally "kind regards". –  user3353 Aug 28 '13 at 10:10
    
Plural Grüße is common, but some use Gruß if both addressee and sender are single individuals and don’t represent groups or institutions. Decades ago, it used to be common to end letters with a complete sentence that ended in something like … und so verbleibe ich mit besten Grüßen <new line> Dein lieber Fritz or Ich sende Ihnen und Ihrer Frau meine besten Grüße <NL> Ihr Fräulein Inge. All variants you list are remnants thereof. Most people don’t ever consider anything else than standard SgDuH to open and MfG to close a formal letter or email. Justified deviation can be good. –  Crissov Oct 10 at 11:23

7 Answers 7

up vote 18 down vote accepted

All three options are very common. In my opinion the most used (and maybe just a tick more formal than the other two) is

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

From a translator's point of view the most accurate of Best wishes is

Beste Grüße

Edit

Here's a Google Ngram graph which shows that Mit besten Grüßen was always and is still used in German:

beste Grüße vs. freundliche Grüße

share|improve this answer
    
You could also use "Mit freundlichem Gruß" because in most cases you are only one person… –  feeela Aug 22 '12 at 13:57
4  
@eeela: What's the person's singularity to do with the Grüße? Even a single person could send multiple Grüße. ("Liebe Hörer an den Radiogeräten und Radiogerätinnen!") –  sbi Aug 23 '12 at 11:32
    
Also fine: "Freundliche Grüße" –  mthomas Aug 23 '12 at 23:35

To me (a German native speaker) "beste Grüße" and "mit besten Grüßen" sounds like a poor word-by-word-translation of an English phrase.

In German there are no "gute Grüße", so why should there be "bessere Grüße" or "beste Grüße"?

In the German language you don't greet well, better or best. You just greet friendly:

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

share|improve this answer
    
youtube.com/watch?v=3PLLqbna7Cs –  Cocopuffs Aug 18 '12 at 17:36
    
Deiner Argumentation stimme ich nicht zu, aber der Kernaussage pflichte ich bei. Beste Grüße klingt für mich absolut fremd. –  Em1 Aug 20 '12 at 8:12
    
Man kann sicher streiten, ob „mit besten Grüßen“ oder „mit den besten Grüßen“ vorzuziehen ist, aber ich kann darin keinen Anglizismus sehen. –  Carsten Schultz Oct 9 at 23:10

It is important to notice that the phrase mit freundlichen Grüßen (sometimes even abbreviated as MfG) is so standard in business correspondence that it might give the receiver of your letter the feeling that you don't care enough about the letter to think about a better finishing for your letter. If you want to convey a personal attitude you might try something contextual such as:

  • mit sommerlichen Grüßen
  • mit weihnachtlichen Grüßen
  • ein schönes Wochenende

etc.

share|improve this answer
    
+1: great point! –  Mac Aug 24 '12 at 7:39
    
On the other hand one clearly notices that the sender is trying to get special attention, basically even begging for attention, when he is using a phrase like "mit den besten Grüßen aus dem sonnigen Hamburg". I don't like that. =) –  Jan. Sep 19 '12 at 14:18

In a formal context, I ALWAYS end my letters with:

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

To me, this isn't really the same as "Best Regards," as that doesn't seem to do the formality of this form justice

In a personal/casual context, I end my letters with one of the following:

Liebe Grüße,

Based on my experience, this is the closest thing to "Best Regards,"*

LG,

Abbreviated form of previous. I use this most often.

Grüße,

Probably the most concise way to end an informal letter.

It's worth noting that the casual forms are acceptable in an office environment where you are addressing your colleagues with "du."

share|improve this answer
    
There is no comma after „Mit freundlichen Grüßen“. –  Loong Oct 9 at 20:41
    
@Loong: Interesting. I never realized that before. Is that true just for "Mit freundlichen Grüßen" or does it apply to all other forms as well? –  Avian00 Oct 10 at 8:09

"Mit freundlichen Grüßen" is the most formal and equivalent to "Sincerely" in English.

"Mit besten Grüßen" and "Beste Grüße" sounds strange to my native German ear. I have never in my life recieved a letter ending with those words, though I have used it myself. I have no idea where I picked it up.

Anything with "regards" in it feels less than strictly formal to me. I would use "Herzliche Grüße" to translate it, which is of medium formality between "Mit freundlichen Grüßen" (formal) and "Liebe Grüße" (familiar). (Those, by the way, are the three common ways to finish a letter, everything else is creative freedom.)

share|improve this answer

The sense of "best regards" is well-conveyed by the "traditional" closing, "Hochachtungsvoll," literally "full of high attention."

share|improve this answer
5  
"Hochachtungsvoll" ist im Deutschen m.E. extrem antiquiert. Wenn der Schreiber über 60 Jahre alt ist, würde ich das als Adressat vielleicht noch ok finden - andernfalls hätte ich das Gefühl, es ist witzig oder ironisch gemeint. [Und: je nachdem, was man unter "wörtlicher" Übersetzung versteht, wäre vielleicht "respectfully" hier angebrachter - die "Achtung" in "Hochachtung" hat mit "attention" nicht viel zu tun, eher mit "regard" oder eben "respect". –  Mac Aug 20 '12 at 9:54
    
I also see "Hochachtungsvoll" as outdated; it is very formal and often used ironically, e.g. for dismissals (see de.wikipedia.org/wiki/…). –  mthomas Aug 23 '12 at 23:34
    
@Mac: Ich bin FAST 60 Jahre alt. –  Tom Au Aug 23 '12 at 23:43
    
@TomAu: Oooops :) –  Mac Aug 24 '12 at 7:39

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

is the common and formal way to end a letter in Germany. You could also use

Viele Grüße

or from time to time

Viele Grüße aus [put your city in here]

for a less formal ending. I would not use

Liebe Grüße

(LG) for a client letter, but for a letter to a friend.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.