I am looking for the German term that is equivalent to the English term "Time sensitivity" or "time sensitive nature" in a professional, business setting. I have considered two options, but am interested in their specific usage.

An example sentence:

Due to the time sensitive nature of this assignment, I would ask that you...

Dict.cc supplies the direct translation "Zeitsensitivität", but notes that this is fachsprachlich. I am unsure if this term enjoys wide usage and will be well understood/received in the professional realm.

My gut instinct would be to use the word Dringlichkeit, but as a non-native speaker I perceive this word (perhaps falsely) to be rather harsh, which may even make the writer/speaker appear a bit pushy.

I am looking for a suitable term to express urgency without appearing to overplay the importance of my own request. I have also entertained the possibility that providing the recipient with further context to pad my request may be the best solution.

  • Do you mean time-critical = zeitkritisch ?
    – hellcode
    Jul 25, 2014 at 18:49
  • @hellcode While time-critical is a good synonym, in English it carries even more urgency than time sensitivity. If you think the German zeitkritisch fits the bill for my question, I would pose it as an answer.
    – Noktasizi
    Jul 25, 2014 at 18:52
  • We often use "zeitkritisch" in business projects, when a deadline has to be considered. To be honest, I didn't get the difference to time sensitive nature. Could you explain it a bit? I think nearly nobody uses Zeitsensitivität.
    – hellcode
    Jul 25, 2014 at 18:55
  • @hellcode To my ears "time-critical" implies a great urgency, whereas "time sensitive" implies urgency, but not so much so that a person might have to drop their current task to take care of a request. Perhaps my question is too narrow and should be broadened to include the various terms that appear on this spectrum in the German language?
    – Noktasizi
    Jul 25, 2014 at 19:04
  • Even Duden didn't knows "Zeitsensitivität".
    – hellcode
    Jul 25, 2014 at 19:08

2 Answers 2


"Zeitsensitivität" is a rather uncommon term and I would advise against using it.

I agree with your perception of "Dringlichkeit". The respective adjective "dringlich" can also be translated as "pressing", which well expresses how this term would likely be understood.

"zeitkritisch" doesn't feel equally harsh to me, but can also mean / originally meant "being critical of contemporary developments". "eilig" would be a much more natural substitute.

Reformulating the sentence (and providing more context as you suggested) is probably the safest solution. Du kannst z.B. um eine baldige oder zeitnahe Antwort / Bearbeitung bitten. That's pushy, but not too much.

  • 1
    "zeitnah" is one of the words that was stuck in the back of my head, or at the tip of my tongue if you rather, while I was composing my email. I think it shows an acceptable amount of urgency without seeming overly pushy.
    – Noktasizi
    Jul 25, 2014 at 21:52

I think that the direct translation of time sensitive "Zeitsensitivität" is not frequently used in real life. Even Duden didn't list the word.

We often use "zeitkritisch", "dringend" or "eilig" to imply an urgency. To reduce the urgency in common speech you can add words like "etwas" or "ein bisschen".

Words like "zeitabhängig" or "zeitgebunden" may also fit in same cases.

  • +1 for additional possibilities that may be useful for future readers.
    – Noktasizi
    Jul 25, 2014 at 21:54
  • 1
    Also "relativ" or "mehr oder weniger" can be used for relativization.
    – user6191
    Jul 26, 2014 at 7:32

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