There have been lots of changes in the way Berlin public offices operate over the last few years, months, and even weeks. In the good old days, you arrived in Berlin, rocked up to your closest Bürgeramt and registered your address. It might have been a bit of a wait, but you usually left after an hour or two with that coveted piece of paper in your hands. Those days are over. There is such a massive demand for appointments in Berlin, many of the Bürgerämter in Berlin have now changed their status to “appointment only”. If you show up without one, you often get turned away.
Category Archive: Moving to Berlin
Red Tape Translation recently helped some clients leave their Berlin lives behind and start anew. Though I’m always sad to see a friendly face move away, I was ready to take on the task of tying up all the loose ends before the family skipped the border and settled down in the Netherlands. It certainly wasn’t simple.
Unexpected Rental Increases, Early Termination, and Other Problems
Finding an apartment in Berlin is hard work, so when you’ve found a place, you’re probably feeling grateful to even be able to sign the lease. Sometimes it can be hard to resolve problems or disputes with your landlord or housing administration in Berlin, especially if you’re not familiar with German tenancy law and your German language skills are limited!
Red Tape Translation just finished an interesting project, interpreting for a meeting with a foreign investor and a real estate developer in Berlin.
The potential for growth within the real estate market in Berlin is major, and investors are flocking to the city to make the most of wonderful acquisition opportunities in popular metro areas of Berlin. Not only in the thriving centre but also beyond the city ring in leafy residential quarters, there are some very special investment opportunities: apartments in wonderful old buildings that are being refurbished, as well as brand new modern style housing complexes.
About the Author: Kathleen Parker dedicates her time to helping English speakers settle into life in Berlin. Through her company Red Tape Translation, she offers phone interpreting for English speakers who are reticent to make German phone calls, and accompanies Australians, Kiwis, Canadians, Brits, South Africans, Americans, and many other international Berliners to their appointments at the immigration office, the job center, real estate agencies, and banks.
Red Tape Translation interprets for an appointment at a Berlin real estate agency and learns all about airing your apartment, German style.
The air was thick (but not stale!) with intensity as two Red Tape Translation clients picked up their pens, and signed the contract for their brand new Berlin apartment. Shortly before signing, we pored through the rental contract together and got to Appendix 3 – a 14 point list of instructions on how to heat and air your new apartment properly. Both bemused and bewildered by the thorough list of instructions, I decided to investigate further.
German language enthusiasts are spoiled for choice, with cheap and good quality German tuition on just about every street corner. Highly recommended: expath.de, Die Neue Schule, and of course the renowned Goethe Institut, if you can afford it. Unfortunately, your job doesn’t stop when the class is over. Berlin is international, so it’s hard to avoid speaking English. But the city is full of opportunities to immerse yourself in German. Here are five uncomplicated ways of going about it.
Force yourself to make friends who don’t speak English.
Use Red Tape Translation to Make Important Phone Calls in German
Red Tape Translation just got a great rap in Elliot Herman’s blog, Lost in Translation. Kathleen was able to find a simple solution to a problem that was driving Elliot crazy. New apartment, new lights,new stove — installation necessary! Without speaking a word of German, Elliot was having a bit of difficulty getting an appointment with an electrician. Having tried Language Line, a telephone interpretation service, Elliot was floored to discover that the cost of using an interpreter there was as much as $3.95 per minute.