There are around nine million native Swedish speakers across the world, and the language is mainly spoken in Sweden and in some coastal parts of Finland. In addition to this, it is estimated that around 40,000 students are learning Swedish as a second language outside Sweden and Finland.
Swedish is a North Germanic language derived from Old Norse. It differentiated itself from Danish in the Middle Ages and has been heavily influenced by other Germanic languages, especially Danish, throughout its history. In the 18th century, Swedish also borrowed a large number of words from French. While Swedish has many dialects, Standard Swedish became the standardised form of Swedish spoken nationally in Sweden during the 19th and 20th century.
Swedish shares a common history and strong similarities with Danish and Norwegian and is mutually intelligible with these languages. It is often said that by learning Swedish, you’re actually learning three languages.
- According to the Swedish Academy, Swedish’s longest word is realisationsvinstbeskattning. It stands for “capital gains tax”.
- Two thirds of the country’s land area is covered by forests with a total area of approximately 280,000 sq km and between 300,000 – 400,000 moose roaming freely within it.
- Sweden is the fifth largest country in Europe but has the second lowest population per square kilometre.
- The Swedish passport gives them entry without a visa to 124 countries in the world, and on arrival they can obtain a visa to another 33 countries.
- Sweden has the highest number of McDonald’s restaurants in Europe per capita but the Swedish are not known for being unhealthy or obese.
Over 1,000 British companies are operating in Sweden, including well-known companies like BP, British Airways, GlaxoSmithKline, Burberry, BAE Systems and Royal Bank of Scotland. The benefits for UK businesses are that Sweden is a geographical hub for the Nordic region and English is widely used as a business language. It has modern and friendly business environments and the Swedish are open to new ideas and products.
If your product or service is successful in the UK, there’s a good chance you’ll be successful in Sweden. There are huge budgets being spent on both road and rail projects, although the larger share of investment is focused on rail. It also covers infrastructure improvements such as new developments. The Swedish government is looking for efficient, low energy and practical solutions to meet increasing infrastructural demands and there are opportunities for development and construction of new railway lines, maintenance of existing railway lines and maintenance of existing road network.
In Sweden, punctuality is very important, both when doing business and making social engagements and you should never be late. If you are going to be late for any reason it is polite to phone and let someone know. Being late is seen as poor etiquette.
The all-embracing value of egalitarianism in Swedish society can be seen in the business dress code. Modesty and a low profile are important and to avoid wearing anything flashy because even the most senior executives do not dress more elaborately than average employees.
It is impolite to criticise Sweden, its culture or any other Swedish aspect of life. It is admired when a foreigner has some knowledge of Sweden and offers this in conversation, such as about the language, history or culture.
Business tip: In business dealings, gifts are rarely given at the beginning of the relationship. Wait for your Swedish partner to give you a gift first. Although exchanging gifts is not common at the beginning of a business relationship, it is appropriate when you are closing your transaction.
Here are some basic greetings and phrases to familiarise yourself with:
|Good morning||God Morgon|
|Thank you||Tack ska du ha|
|How are you?||Hur mår du?|
|Good evening||God middag|
We have translated extensively into Swedish in the health & wellbeing sector for clients such as Young Living and dōTERRA. We have also worked in the automotive sector 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.
How We Work
We’re ISO 9001:2015 regulated, which means we follow strict processes to ensure you get the quality translation you require.
Our project managers will work closely with you to answer all your questions and ensure all your requirements are met on time.
We only work with experienced and professional linguists to ensure your content is of the very best quality.
We use Translation Memory software to ensure your brand messages and terminology remain consistent.