How should german users be addressed in the translation?

There are two ways to address people in the german language: formal “Sie”, or informal “Du”. Both types are currently used mixed, but what should be default?

  • Du
  • Sie

0 voters

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I think this debate is larger than German :slight_smile: Most languages have different forms for addressing a person in formal and informal setting. I myself have faced this same issue when working on the Bulgarian translation where the grammar is very similar to German in respect to Sietzen and dutzen.

Dutzen (in Bulgarian and German) would allow for shaving off a few characters from messages. It could also allow psychologically “shortening the distance” and giving the perception of easier approachability of the software.

Sietzen on the other hand might be the norm. I personally feel somewhat offended when a software starts addressing me using the informal pronouns, but judging by the vote’s results I’m a minority :slight_smile: I also think that the recent increase of “dutzen” in Bulgarian (perhaps in German too) is an influence of the English where you can hardly figure out in short communication which form is used.

I’d be interested to see what the opinions of other translators are.

Big and mature open source software normally uses the “formal” approach. For example:

  • KDE
  • Ubuntu
  • Firefox
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I don’t think these open source softwares are comparable to Home Assistant. I did some research for software I think is more comparable:


  • Amazon Alexa (only the app, not the voice assistant)
  • SmartThings
  • Xiaomi Home


  • Google Home
  • homee

My conclusion would be that both ways are suitable, and we should decide that based on the vote.
My opinion is that the “Du” would be best, as Home Assistant is something that should help you in your life, and it shouldn’t create artificial distance by using the formal “Sie”.


also a good point.

I’ve never liked the “Sie”, which is why I have everything set to English as much as I can, so I agree with the posters above and the artificial distance.

Even at work, everyone is referring to each other with “Du”, no matter the position they have, making the working environment in my experience way better, than being on edge and saying “Sie”.

In the end it comes down to taste, if possible I’d like to default whatever the vote says, but be able to switch it in the future (I know it is more work)

Based on the poll, we should stick to “Du”. :slight_smile: Are there any other arrangements we should make?

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Going through the current German translations, I found both the formal and informal forms. Because of the result of this poll, I started replacing the formal form with the informal counterpart. I quit that when I saw that some people did the exact opposite recently.

Someone has to decide which form should be used and this should be stated in the contribution guide.
Furthermore, when using the informal form, it has to be decided if it should be written capitalized or not (du/Du, dein/Dein, etc.).

In general, I like the formal form. But as Home Assistant is becomes a “personal product” when installed locally, I prefer the informal form. And this capitalized, because it’s a bit more formal.

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I don’t know if there’s anyone “in charge” for that kind of decisions.

I also edited a lot of the strings to the informal form just after the end of the poll.

Also did the translation of the Android app, this is “informally” all the way.

Just my 2 cents.
In phpbb Forum you can choose between German/Sie and German/Du in the Backend, if I recall correctly.

But I would of course vote for DU and agree that whole work life etc gets way better.