Norwegian is spoken by about 4 million people in Norway and is a North Germanic language which originally derived from Old Norse. It is spoken by a further one million in the other Scandinavian countries and North America. Norwegian is mutually intelligible with Danish and Swedish.
Norway is a sophisticated and established market, having a long and trusted trading relationship with the UK. It has an educated and technologically advanced society looking for high-quality products and services.
As a result of the union with Denmark from around 1500 to 1850, the written language in Norway was Danish and during that time the Norwegian upper class spoke Danish whilst the rest of the population spoke using a variation of Norwegian dialects. When Norway became its own nation in 1814 they wanted their own written language, but the people were divided between the two different written languages that were presented to them. Instead of choosing one of them, they were both considered equal. Norwegian now has two official forms of written language: Bokmål (literally “book tongue”) and Nynorsk (literally “new Norwegian”).
- Norwegian is a tonal language, making it sound lyrical. Tones are rare in Indo-European languages and are more commonly found in Asian languages such as Chinese.
- Frozen pizza is so popular in Norway that when a popular brand released a new jingle, it reached no.1 in the Norwegian charts.
- Norway’s prices are undeniably high compared to most other countries. For example, a pint of beer in Oslo will cost around £9/$12.
- Kirkenes is one of Norway’s most interesting places from a social perspective. It’s so close to the border with Russia that there is a big Russian influence, so much so that bilingual street signs and shops advertise offers and deals primarily to Russian visitors. Because of the number of visitors, English is very much a third language in this small town.
- The full name of the country is actually the Kingdom of Norway. In Norwegian, this is written as Kongeriket Norge, or Kongeriket Noreg in nynorsk.
- Norway’s oil and gas industry has assisted in powering the economy, but it doesn’t power the nation’s homes. Around 98% of Norway’s domestic power usage is drawn from hydroelectric power plants.
If you are a UK business looking to export your goods, then it is understood that UK brands have a positive reputation in Norway and they have a stable economy. They have an open market and use English widely as their business language which can make the introduction and transition into the country easier.
As a country, they have a lot of strengths which is down to their vast natural resources, their efficient business culture and low levels of corruption. The Norwegian economy is dominated by the offshore oil and gas sector, which accounts for about 25% of value creation in Norway. Crude oil, natural gas and electricity account for 65% of all exports and according to current estimates, Norway has oil for the next 50 years and gas for the next 100 years.
Norway believes its priority sectors for economic development for the future will not only be oil and gas but also seafood, timber and metal products, telecommunications and hydropower equipment.
Norwegians will only do business with those they trust in order to establish a connection and as an individual, you must be willing and open to discuss all aspects of yourself, your colleagues and your business with a potential client. It is very much appreciated if you are reliable, commit to deadlines and honour every meeting. Prior research, extensive preparation and timely communication are key to a successful meeting.
They appreciate you being open and honest about your expectations and do not like to be pressurised into making a decision, as local decision-making models are based on consensus and compromise. It is uncommon to barter or ask for discounts so if you enter any business discussion with a realistic, solid and competitive price at the outset it is likely to be more successful.
If you are late, unreliable or display any other lack of professionalism, this will likely mean that trust is broken, and the relationship is over. Remember that if you initiate a business lunch, dinner or drinks, then you will be expected to cover the bill.
Here are some basic greetings and phrases to familiarise yourself with:
|Good morning||God morgen|
|Please||Vær så god|
|I am very glad to meet you||Det er så hyggelig å treffe deg|
We have translated extensively into Norwegian in the health & wellbeing sector for clients such as dōTERRA, as well as working in the automotive industry for clients such as Armored Auto. Types of content that we have translated include websites, product specifications, marketing material, newsletters, product catalogues and product labelling.
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