17

I need to use this phrase in formal correspondence with a business customer but don’t seem to be able to find enough verifiable sources on the internet with an appropriate German equivalent.

Freundliche or sanfte Erinnerung seem plausible, but could you please confirm if and when a native speaker would use them?

Any suggestions on a correct translation or an alternative, equivalent phrase are very welcome.

  • 3
    In which context want you to use the reminder? – IQV Jan 25 '17 at 8:30
  • 3
    The context is formal communication with a customer who has neglected to answer a previous e-mail asking him to provide specific information concerning his issue. – Kit Jan 25 '17 at 9:37
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    Then you can use "freundlich" or "höflich". "Höflich" is often used in context with invoices. – IQV Jan 25 '17 at 9:39
  • 2
    If you get a payment reminder it often says Zahlungserinnerung and something like Wir vergessen alle einmal etwas. Bitte überweisen Sie den offenen Rechnungsbetrag bis zum ..., but your context is a bit different. – simbabque Jan 25 '17 at 10:18
26

You can use "Freundliche Erinnerung". Anonther possibility often used is "Höfliche Erinnerung" (polite reminder).

And I would suggest to use the verb: "Wir möchten Sie höflich erinnern,...".

  • 4
    To me this has a taunting conotation. You are formally polite but actually passive agressive. Similar to "hochachtungsvoll". I don't know if that's the same in English and intended by OP. – André Stannek Jan 25 '17 at 14:22
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    @AndréStannek : "Gentle reminder" and "Friendly reminder" have exactly that connotation in English. (I can't tell whether that is intended by the OP). – Martin Bonner supports Monica Jan 25 '17 at 14:49
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    @AndréStannek But that connotation is hard to avoid (and I know of no friendlier way to say that). Obviously your correspondent failed to do something, and it's important enough to you that you feel they need to be reminded, which is a (however mild) annoyance. – Peter - Reinstate Monica Jan 26 '17 at 11:53
  • @PeterA.Schneider I totally agree. I just wanted to mention it. To avoid it a complete rewording would be nessecary. Simbabque has a good example in his answer but even that doesn't manage to avoid it completely. – André Stannek Jan 26 '17 at 13:46
  • If I read, "Wir möchten Sie höflich erinnern", I'm expecting that I forgot to pay a bill or did something wrong. It is definitely not gentle. – Arminius Apr 30 '17 at 18:00
10

In the context of a business relation with a customer you'd usually ask if they require additional information before they can reply. That way you don't pressure them, but really remind them gently, as you are implying that you might have forgotten something, not them. Asking for the status is also fair.

In German, that would go along the lines of the following, which assumes you have regular contact with that customer. If you're more thinking of an automated response or a generic block of text then IQV's answer is probably more suited.

Just reply to your own email that you last sent them.

Re: Projekt Foo

<Anrede>,

gibt es bereits ein Update zu der oben genannten Sache, oder brauchen Sie evtl. noch weitere Informationen von mir?

Mit freundlichen Grüßen
...

Instead of oben genannte Sache, which is the above mentioned thing (Projekt Foo), you can also just say hierzu, as you're replying anyway, so the body is included.

And yes, Update is a perfectly fine word in modern German business communication.

  • 1
    Upgedatet or geupdatet? :- ) german.stackexchange.com/questions/33857/… – Mawg Jan 25 '17 at 12:35
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    @UlrichDiez that sounds like a lawyer wrote it. I enjoy grammar, but I would not write to a business contact with something sounding that stiff. – simbabque Jan 25 '17 at 14:11
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    @UlrichDiez so you'd write this three times anyway, right? :) Of course it depends. The OP wasn't clear if we are talking corporation to private customer or B2B, or what the exact context is. That's why I explicitly described the kind of context I am going for in my second paragraph. But in general I'd say the simpler the better, especially if you write to a private customer. You never know who they are, and if you want them to answer you'd better not confuse or scare them. – simbabque Jan 25 '17 at 14:56
  • Depending on the context, especially if not called for, such a submissive request can just as well be ment and understood as a subtextual discourtesy. I would be very careful to use this approach unless I fully understand the between-the-line implications of such wording. – jarnbjo Jan 25 '17 at 16:12
3

As @simbabque already gave you an example, I'll try to give you another choice for such an answer:

Anrede [e.g. Hallo Herr/Frau XYZ.. or Sehr geehrter Herr XYZ/Sehr geehrte Frau XYZ..],

ich möchte mich gerne bei Ihnen nach dem Status Quo des Projekts [or anything else] erkundigen. Über eine Rückmeldung würde ich mich [or: würden wir uns] freuen!

Besten Dank und freundliche Grüße ...

This way you don't use any germanized English words and it is polite.

I must admit, that I have never seen any 'gentle reminder' as a straight forward message in German for now, as in Germany reminders like those are kept subtile.

And no, Update is not perfectly fine in modern German business communication, as it is strictly depending on addressed industry and counterpart!

  • 3
    Man erkundigt sich nach etwas, nicht um. – simbabque Jan 25 '17 at 14:12
  • I'd be cautious about that "Status Quo" - a Latin phrase that works in English isn't always going to work in German. And sometimes Latin gets declined when used in German, so it becomes something like Statu. (No idea about this particular phrase though). – Michael Kay Jan 25 '17 at 17:06
  • @simbabque vollkommen richtig, wurde korrigiert. – pallox Jan 25 '17 at 17:24
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    @MichaelKay this may be correct in general - but in this cause it appears to me as the most common usage of a latin phrase in those particular business cases. – pallox Jan 25 '17 at 17:28
-3

Actually, in german businesses the usage of english (bussiness) terms has become quite common. Especially if these companies have one or more english speaking employees and/or operate largely outside of Germany. So using "Gentle reminder" followed by a german sentence is totally fine, same as well-known abbreviations like "FYI" or "ASAP". Most of the time this is used in subject-only e-mails as quick reminders. Example:

"Gentle reminder: Deadline von Projekt xxxx ist am xx.xx.xxxx um xx:xx Uhr."

If you're not sure whether the company you're working with is multilingual or not, you should stick to the answers above, both IQV, simbabques and palloxs answers are totally fine. Just make sure to be friendly and polite, as simbabque already stated.

EDIT: tried to be more constructive by adding another polite version including information the OP gave:

Sehr geehrte Frau xxx, sehr geehrter Herr xxx,

bezugnehmend auf meine E-Mail vom xx.xx.xxxx wollte ich noch einmal nachfragen, ob Sie mir die folgenden Informationen xxxxx zukommen lassen könnten:

  • List item
  • List item
  • List item

Ich benötige diese Informationen, *** .

Für Rückfragen stehe ich selbstverständlich gerne zur Verfügung.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

xxx

At *** you could state reasons why you need this information. It helps to make them aware of the fact that you already asked once and really need this information, but without reminding them actively that they didn't answer yet, while also showing that you're willing to solve the issue asap and are happy to answer any remaining questions.

  • There shall be no comma after “Mit freundlichen Grüßen”. – Loong Jan 25 '17 at 15:32

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