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Swedish Dialects and Translation

When you translate Swedish you must remember there are different Swedish dialects. Learning more about the dialects of a language can be important when you are working with language translation and language translation software.

Swedish is spoken by nearly 9 million people worldwide, predominantly located in Sweden. Swedish is also spoken in parts of Finland, especially along the coast on the Ă…land islands. While there are regional dialects of Swedish, they are very similar in sound and are generally able to be understood by all. In addition, those who speak Danish and Norwegian also can easily understand and recognize Swedish words and language.

If your audience speaks a dialect of Swedish, they will easily be able to understand Standard Swedish.

What is a Dialect?

A dialect means that in certain areas the speech may have some variation. The dialect generally applies to the vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation characteristic of specific geographic localities or social classes.

English Dialects / Compare British English to American English

To better understand dialects, it is helpful to look at English as an example. There are many different dialects of English; however, if you know English then you can still understand the different dialects. For example, in England you could easily pick up a British newspaper and be able to read it, but there will be some words which have different meanings than they do here in the U.S. For example, the British may say the sentence, “He is moving into his flat this weekend.” In America we would say, “He is moving into his apartment this weekend.” In the U.K. they simply use the word “flat” instead of “apartment” but you can still get the idea of what it is that they are saying.

In Systran’s Software we have built in the ability to translate using both the UK (British English) and American English dialects.

Swedish Dialects

While Swedish has some locally spoken dialects, Standard Swedish is the national language and in order to function in society all Swedish people read, write,and speak Standard Swedish.

What is Localization?

Localization is a term used to describe translation that is targeted to a specific area, culture or dialect. One of the most important times to consider localization is when a company is running an advertisement of a product.

Systran’s Translation Software Uses Standard Swedish

Systran’s translation software uses the Standard Swedish dialect for translation. While you can easily customize the Swedish translation to another dialect by training the software to recognize different words for another dialect by building your own custom dictionaries, building translation memory, and more. For example, you can very easily create a “Finnish Dialect” dictionary.

In reality, the differences between the Swedish dialects of Sweden and Finland with reference to pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar are relatively minor, so if you translate with the software a person who speaks Swedish can understand the minor differences.

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