The Nordic countries are experiencing a recent economic success bound to technological advancement. Sweden ranks second, after Finland, in terms of technological achievement. Furthermore, the country has the highest number of patents granted per capita of any European country and the Swedish capital, Stockholm, is currently ranked as the most important tech startup hub in Europe and the second most productive, on a per capita basis, only behind the Silicon Valley. To only mention two of the most internationally successful startups – Spotify and Candy Crush.
Yet, “collecting candies” in Sweden comes at a high price, as the country is known for its highest level of taxation worldwide, with a tax rate of over 51% of GDP and standard VAT rate of 25%. But the Swedish people are generally in acceptance with the fact that are one of the most highly taxed populations in the world and willingly pay their skatt, the Swedish word for ‘tax,’ which, ironically or not, has the second meaning of ‘treasure.’
A 2015 survey by a market research institute concluded that Swedes highly respect the Swedish Tax Agency and it gets third place in terms of their trust only after the Lantmäteriet (responsible for property division) and the Swedish Patent and Registration Office.
Among technologically advanced and highly taxed, the nation is also often described as fairly modest and neutral. The Jantelagen, the Law of Jante, is a cultural concept that is hard to be directly translated but comes down to “don’t think you are so special.”
And while the modern Swedish neutrality might be in a real contradiction with their roots, with the Vikings’ invasions and plundering through numerous continents, the actual decision to not actively participating in World War II, further helped the country’s economic advancement.
And without the neutrality, maybe we would had never had our houses full with IKEA furniture, as the company was founded in Sweden during 1943 as a mostly mail-order sales business.
And while many argue whether IKEA stores are more popular for their furniture or for their food markets, and especially the meatballs, Sweden has its iconic dish which no one can handle with neutrality. It is the Surströmming, translated as ‘fermented Baltic herring,’ and just as the name suggests – it is herring fish, left to ferment for some weeks. During the process odious gasses are formed to lead to the rule that a tin of the Swedish treat must not be opened indoors. And just as the German food critic Wolfgang Fassbender wrote: “the biggest challenge when eating surströmming is to vomit only after the first bite, as opposed to before”.
The staple of traditional northern Swedish cuisine originated circa 16th century, at the time when the country was known as Swedeland in the English language. The modern English name Sweden was loaned from Dutch in the 17th century, at the time when the first Modern Swedish language grammars were written.
However, and surprisingly to many, Swedish became the official language of Sweden in only 2009. The first Sweden language Law also gave an official status to – Finnish, all Sami dialects, Torne Valley Finnish (Meänkieli), Romani, and Yiddish – all declared as official national minority languages.
And while under the Nordic Language Convention, citizens of the Nordic countries have the right to use their native language when interacting with official bodies in other Nordic countries without being liable to any interpretation or translation costs, that is not the case for the rest of the world.
So if you’re looking to consolidate business opportunities in the Swedish-speaking market, EVS Translations could be your ideal partner for all your corporate Swedish language needs. At your request, we can assemble specialist Swedish translator teams for your industry sector and thereby produce high-quality Swedish translations in line with international standards.
→ Click here to contact our Swedish language department.