Swedish (svenska) is the most widely spoken of the North Germanic languages. It is the official language of Sweden and is also an official language in Finland and of the European Union. There are approximately 10 million speakers worldwide, with around 95% based in Sweden. It is very similar to Norwegian and, to a lesser extent, Danish. It is descended from Old Norse, the language spoken throughout Scandinavia during the Viking era.
The Swedish alphabet has 29 letters – it uses the same alphabet as English with the addition of å, ä and ö. Swedish vocabulary is primarily Germanic, e.g. ‘mus’ (mouse) and ‘kung’ (king). Further vocabulary, however, particularly that of religion and science, was often borrowed from French (parasoll, cigarrett) or English (film, ultimat), taking words with Latin or Greek origins. There are also a few Swedish loanwords used in English, such as smörgåsbord, Ombudsman and gravlax.
Swedish is the Scandinavian language most studied abroad. The Swedish Institute plays an important part in language learning in other countries, particularly collaborating with foreign universities and holding summer courses. Due to the high number of loanwords from English and German, speakers of Germanic languages are at an advantage.
It is officially regulated by the Swedish Language Council (Språkrådet), which includes the Swedish Academy whose work involves the publication of official dictionaries and grammars for the language. There is also a regulatory body for Swedish in Finland (the Research Institute for the Languages of Finland), one of its main priorities being to ensure intelligibility with the language spoken in Sweden.
Business Language Services Ltd. (BLS) specialises in Swedish translation (both English to Swedish and Swedish to English). We have a broad network of highly experienced, qualified professional Swedish translators, who only translate into their mother tongue. What’s more, all our Swedish translations are proofread by a second, independent linguist. BLS has an extensive database of Swedish interpreters, selected according to their expertise, specialist knowledge, friendly attitude and professional reliability. BLS also works with some of the best Swedish language tutors, enabling us to offer you tailor-made courses to match your precise needs and suit your ongoing work commitments.