I'm writing a cover letter in German for a job "Physical Design Engineer".

Do I write "physical design Ingenieur" in the main body of the letter?

Generally, what should I write in such cases?
I don't mean words that can be easily translated. Rather those which are more used in their English form and not their literal translation.

  • 5
    It would be easier to answer this if you gave more context, e.g. sentences from your letter. - As for the job title: how does the employer call it in the offer? - Anyway, mixing it like "Physical Design Ingenieur" sounds awkward. Better stick to totally English. Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 17:55
  • 1
    Gibt es eine Ausschreibung für die Stelle? Was steht dort?
    – Carsten S
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 16:18
  • Mixing German and English sounds bad to many people but is nonetheless used often, especially with people caring little for nice language, e.g. engineers.
    – Toscho
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 19:05
  • It sounds, as if the job offer was in English, right? In this case, an English application should be fine, if you are not a German native speaker.
    – Arsak
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 4:47
  • Thanks, yes the job offer is in English. The company is german though and they prefer the documents to be in german. That's why I was wondering. Especially in engineering this mix of german and english happens and is often necessary... Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 10:27

2 Answers 2


Personally, I would stay with "Physical Design Engineer".

Speaking of terms more used in their English form, they might have a slightly different meaning literally translated. I mean just check the different translations for "physical" and "design" and imagine a personell manager gets dozens of applications for a job as "Ingenieur für physisches Design", "Technischer Gestaltungsingenieur", "Leibhaftiger Anordnungs-Pionier" and so on.

If the english term is used more, it's more distinct.

Also even if there is a 100%-safe translation, you still don't know if it's correct. Just because the job is named the same, that doesn't mean it is the same job (if not proofed by an international educational degree or something).

And check if the term does exist "as is" in German, as there are examples like the "Bachelor of Science/Art/etc." or "Gamedesigner" that are never translated or can't be translated at all.

@Christian Geiselmann pointed out another very important point to find the solution to a situation like this: adaptation. If it's written in the offer, it might be the safest option to copy it.

  • 2
    The important part is what the employer writes. If the job offer is for a "Physical design engineer", you have to stick with that.
    – Janka
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 13:12
  • thanks!! I used it as it is . In electronic chip design , it is definitely the more secure option:) Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 10:28

There are two possible cases. The first is that you are writing "cold," without responding to a hiring advert. Then use the term most in common use. If that term term is "Physical Design Engineer," use it even if it is in English. But in any event, use all English or all German.

The second case is that you are responding to a hiring advert. In that case, use the term in the advert itself, whether it is "Physical Design Engineer," "Technischer Gestaltungsingenieur", or whatever.

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