The Swedish language
Swedish (Svenska) is a North Germanic language primarily spoken in Sweden and parts of Finland. As a Scandinavian language, it shares close ties with Norwegian and Danish.
History and Origins:
- Ancient Beginnings: The origins of Swedish can be traced back to Old Norse, the common language of Scandinavia up until the 13th century.
- Old Swedish: Between the 13th and 16th centuries, linguistic shifts marked the transition from Old Norse to Old Swedish. Vital historical texts from this period include the Västgötalagen (the Westrogothic law) and the “Gutalagen” (the Gotlandic law).
- Modern Swedish: The period between the late 19th century and today marks the era of Modern Swedish. The publication of the Bible in Swedish in 1526 by Olaus Petri played a pivotal role in standardising the language.
Number of Speakers:
Approximately 10 million native speakers worldwide.
The majority reside in Sweden, but there’s also a substantial number in Finland.
Sweden: The principal language and the de facto official language.
Finland: Along with Finnish, Swedish is an official language. Notably, there’s a Swedish-speaking minority, especially in the coastal regions.
Example of Text:
“Alla människor är födda fria och lika i värde och rättigheter. De är utrustade med förnuft och samvete och bör handla gentemot varandra i en anda av broderskap.”*
(This is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1, in Swedish.)
Usage and Influence:
- Media: Swedish is prominent in various forms of media, from newspapers like “Dagens Nyheter” to popular music and television series.
- Education: Swedish is taught in schools, and mastery of the language is required for citizenship in Sweden.
- International Influence: While Swedish is primarily spoken in Sweden and parts of Finland, it has impacted global culture through Swedish cinema, literature (such as works by Astrid Lindgren and Stieg Larsson), and music (including famous groups like ABBA).
English Influence on Swedish:
Swedish has borrowed and adapted several words from English, especially in the realms of technology and popular culture. Examples include:
- ”dator” (from “computer”)
- ”internet” (retaining the English pronunciation)
- ”mobil” (shortened from “mobile phone”)
Swedish Influence on English:
While the Swedish influence on English is not as pronounced, there are some words which have found their way into the English lexicon:
- ”smörgåsbord”: Referring to a buffet with various dishes.
- ”ombudsman”: An official appointed to investigate complaints against the administration.
- ”fika”: A coffee break, usually with pastries. More than just a coffee break, it’s a moment to slow down and appreciate the good things in life.
Swedish, with its rich history and culture, serves as the backbone of communication in Sweden and has made its mark on the global stage through media, music, and literature. The linguistic interplay between English and Swedish showcases the dynamic and evolving nature of languages and their ability to influence and be influenced by one another.
Interestingly, Swedish was actually an official language of Finland before it became an official language in Sweden itself. If you learn to speak Swedish, you may be surprised to find that there’s no word for ‘please’. Also, unlike English, the Swedish language distinguishes between your grandmother on your paternal side and your grandmother on your maternal side. The same applies to the words for grandfather, too.
At Brightlines, we only use Swedish translation specialists who have used Swedish since birth, which is one of the reasons brands, such as Google, trust us with their Swedish translation needs.
Our translation services - FAQ
Do you use native translators?
Yes, always. All our translators are native speakers and most are still resident in their native country. We pride ourselves on ensuring that all Brightlines’ translators are native. We do not accept applications from non-native candidates or allow them to register on our online recruitment database. All our translators are rigorously tested.
How long will the translations take?
The turnaround for the translation will depend on the word count. As a rough guide, assume that the translators can comfortably process about 2500 words of non-specialised text per day. Proofreading can effectively be completed on a basis of 4000-6000 words a day. Our minimum turnaround time is usually about three days, although it is possible to shorten this if you are in a rush for the final files and we will always be happy to discuss this with you.
What is the variation in your translators’ experience and qualifications? Are they native speakers? Will the cost increase if we use a more experienced translator?
All our translators have to go through a series of tests to make sure they are as good as they say they are, and only if they pass are they allowed to work for Brightlines. There is quite a range of experience and qualifications, but all translators have a minimum of five years’ experience. All translators translate into their mother-tongue without exception and are generally based in-country so they are up-to-date with the local language. We match translators with projects/clients depending on the subject matter, and most of our translators have industry experience in their speciality – there is no better experience than being immersed professionally in the industry they specialise in. Our costs are based on translator experience, speciality (i.e. medical, creative, scientific) and the language choice.
Which languages can you translate into?
We have an extensive database with hundreds of trusted and tested translators covering all commercial languages. If you cannot see the language or dialect you need please ask.
I don’t know the word count; can you base the quote on the number of pages?
Our pricing structure is based on a rate-per-word, but we can estimate from a page count. If we can’t see the source document then we would usually estimate between 300 – 500 words a page depending on the density of the text and the presence of photos and images.
Does the translation need to be proofread?
Brightlines is an ISO 9001:2015 certified company. This means that quality is safeguarded. We adhere to the “four-eyes principle” and translations are always checked by a second professional proofreader (who is not the translator). If the translation is for internal use and reference purposes only (i.e. not to be published, distributed or used in a court of law), or you simply don’t wish to have proofreading, we can remove the proofreading stage.