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Swedish Translation Service

Swedish Along with the other North Germanic languages, Swedish is a descendant of Old Norse, the common language of the Germanic peoples living in Scandinavia during the Viking Era.

Standard Swedish, used by most Swedish people, is the national language that evolved from the Central Swedish dialects in the 19th century and was well established by the beginning of the 20th century. While distinct regional varieties descended from the older rural dialects still exist, the spoken and written language is uniform and standardized. Some dialects differ considerably from the standard language in grammar and vocabulary and are not always mutually intelligible with Standard Swedish. These dialects are confined to rural areas and are spoken primarily by small numbers of people with low social mobility. Though not facing imminent extinction, such dialects have been in decline during the past century, despite the fact that they are well researched and their use is often encouraged by local authorities.

The standard word order is Subject Verb Object, though this can often be changed to stress certain words or phrases. Swedish morphology is similar to English, i.e. words have comparatively few inflections; there are two genders, no grammatical cases (though older analyses posit two cases, nominative and genitive), and a distinction between plural and singular. Adjectives are compared as in English, and are also inflected according to gender, number and definiteness. The definiteness of nouns is marked primarily through suffixes (endings), complemented with separate definite and indefinite articles. The prosody features both stress and in most dialects tonal qualities. The language has a comparatively large vowel inventory. Swedish is also notable for the voiceless dorso-palatal velar fricative, a highly variable consonant phoneme. In the 9th century, Old Norse began to diverge into Old West Norse (Norway and Iceland) and Old East Norse (Sweden and Denmark). In the 12th century, the dialects of Denmark and Sweden began to diverge, becoming Old Danish and Old Swedish in the 13th century. All were heavily influenced by Middle Low German during the Middle Ages. Though stages of language development are never as sharply delimited as implied here, and should not be taken too literally, the system of subdivisions used in this article is the most commonly used by Swedish linguists and is used for the sake of practicality.

In the 8th century, the common Germanic language of Scandinavia, Proto-Norse, had undergone some changes and evolved into Old Norse. This language began to undergo new changes that did not spread to all of Scandinavia, which resulted in the appearance of two similar dialects, Old West Norse (Norway and Iceland) and Old East Norse (Denmark and Sweden).

The subdialect of Old East Norse spoken in Sweden is called Runic Swedish and the one in Denmark Runic Danish (there was also a subdialect spoken in Gotland, Old Gutnish) but until the 12th century, the dialect was the same in the two countries with the main exception of a Runic Danish monophthongization (see below). The dialects are called runic because the main body of text appears in the runic alphabet. Unlike Proto-Norse, which was written with the Elder Futhark alphabet, Old Norse was written with the Younger Futhark alphabet, which only had 16 letters. Because the number of runes was limited, some runes were used for a range of phonemes, such as the rune for the vowel u which was also used for the vowels o, ø and y, and the rune for i which was also used for e.

From 1100 onwards, the dialect of Denmark began to diverge from that of Sweden. The innovations spread unevenly from Denmark which created a series of minor dialectal boundaries, isoglosses, ranging from Zealand in the south to Norrland, Osterbotten and northwestern Finland in the north.

An early change that separated Runic Danish from the other dialects of Old East Norse was the change of the diphthong oei to the monophthong e, as in stoeinn to stenn "stone". This is reflected in runic inscriptions where the older read stain and the later stin. There was also a change of au as in dauor into a long open o as in door "dead". This change is shown in runic inscriptions as a change from taupr into tupr. Moreover, the oy diphthong changed into a long close o, as in the Old Norse word for "island". These innovations had affected most of the Runic Swedish speaking area as well in the end of the period, with the exception of the dialects spoken north and east of Malardalen where the diphthongs still exist in remote areas.

Old Swedish is the term used for the medieval Swedish language, starting in 1225. Among the most important documents of the period written in Latin script is the oldest of the provincial law codes, the Vastgota code or Vastgotalagen, of which fragments dated to 1250 have been found. The main influences during this time came with the firm establishment of the Roman Catholic Church and various monastic orders, introducing many Greek and Latin loanwords. With the rise of Hanseatic power in the late 13th and early 14th century, the influence of Middle Low German became ever more present. The Hanseatic league provided Swedish commerce and administration with a large number of German- and Dutch-speaking immigrants. Many became quite influential members of Swedish medieval society, and brought terms from their mother tongue into the vocabulary. Besides a great number of loanwords for such areas as warfare, trade and administration; general grammatical suffixes and even conjunctions were imported. Almost all of the naval terms were also borrowed from Dutch.

Early medieval Swedish was markedly different from the modern language in that it had a more complex case structure and had not yet experienced a reduction of the gender system. Nouns, adjectives, pronouns and certain numerals were inflected in four cases; besides the modern nominative, there were also the genitive, dative and accusative. The gender system resembled that of modern German, having the genders masculine, feminine and neuter. Most of the masculine and feminine nouns were later grouped together into a common gender. The verb system was also more complex: it included subjunctive and imperative moods and verbs were conjugated according to person as well as number. By the 16th century, the case and gender systems of the colloquial spoken language and the profane literature had been largely reduced to the two cases and two genders of modern Swedish. The old inflections remained common in high prose style until the 18th century, and in some dialects into the early 20th century.

A transitional change of the Latin script in the Nordic countries was to spell the letter combination "ae" as ae ? and sometimes as a' ? though it varied between persons and regions. The combination "ao" was similarly rendered ao, and "oe" became oe. These three were later to evolve into the separate letters a, a and o.

Modern Swedish begins with the advent of the printing press and the European Reformation. After assuming power, the new monarch Gustav Vasa ordered a Swedish translation of the Bible. The New Testament was published in 1526, followed by a full Bible translation in 1541, usually referred to as the Gustav Vasa Bible, a translation deemed so successful and influential that, with revisions incorporated in successive editions, it remained the most common Bible translation until 1917. The main translators were Laurentius Andreae and the brothers Laurentius and Olaus Petri. The Vasa Bible is often considered to be a reasonable compromise between old and new; while not adhering to the colloquial spoken language of its day it was not overly conservative in its use of archaic forms. It was a major step towards a more consistent Swedish orthography. It established the use of the vowels "a", "a", and "o", and the spelling "ck" in place of "kk", distinguishing it clearly from the Danish Bible, perhaps intentionally, given the ongoing rivalry between the countries. All three translators came from central Sweden which is generally seen as adding specific Central Swedish features to the new Bible.

Though it might seem as if the Bible translation set a very powerful precedent for orthographic standards, spelling actually became more inconsistent during the remainder of the century. It was not until the 17th century that spelling began to be discussed, around the time when the first grammars were written. The spelling debate raged on until the early 19th century, and it was not until the latter half of the 19th century that the orthography reached generally acknowledged standards.

Capitalization during this time was not standardized. It depended on the authors and their background. Those influenced by German capitalized all nouns, while others capitalized more sparsely. It is also not always apparent which letters are capitalized owing to the Gothic or blackletter typeface which was used to print the Bible. This typeface was in use until the mid-18th century, when it was gradually replaced with a Latin typeface (often antiqua). Contemporary Swedish - The period that includes Swedish as it is spoken today is termed nusvenska (lit. "Now-Swedish") in linguistic terminology and started in the last decades of the 19th century. The period saw a democratization of the language with a less formal written language that came closer to spoken language. The growth of a public schooling system also lead to the evolution of so-called boksvenska (literally "book Swedish"), especially among the working classes, where spelling to some extent influenced pronunciation, particularly in official contexts. With the industrialization and urbanization of Sweden well under way by the last decades of the 19th century, a new breed of authors made their mark on Swedish literature. Many scholars, politicians and other public figures had a great influence on the new national language that was emerging, and among them were prolific authors like the poet Gustaf Froding, Nobel laureate Selma Lagerlof, and radical writer and playwright August Strindberg.

It was during the 20th century that a common, standardized national language became available to all Swedes. The orthography was finally stabilized, and was almost completely uniform, with the exception of some minor deviations, by the time of the spelling reform of 1906. With the exception of plural forms of verbs and a slightly different syntax, particularly in the written language, the language was the same as the Swedish spoken today. The plural verb forms remained, in ever decreasing use, in formal (and particularly written) language until the 1950s, when they were finally officially abolished even from all official recommendations.

A very significant change in Swedish occurred in the 1960s, with the so-called du-reformen, "the you-reform". Previously, the proper way to address people of the same or higher social status had been by title and surname. The use of herr ("Mr" or "Sir"), fru ("Mrs" or "Ma'am") or froken ("Miss") was only considered acceptable in initial conversation with strangers of unknown occupation, academic title or military rank. The fact that the listener should preferably be referred to in the third person tended to further complicate spoken communication between members of society. In the early 20th century, an unsuccessful attempt was made to replace the insistence on titles with ni (the standard second person plural pronoun), analogous to the French Vous. (Cf. T-V distinction.) Ni (plural second person pronoun) wound up being used as a slightly less familiar form of du (singular second person pronoun) used to address people of lower social status. With the liberalization and radicalization of Swedish society in the 1950s and 1960s, these previously significant distinctions of class became less important and du became the standard, even in formal and official contexts. Though the reform was not an act of any centralized political decrees, but rather a sweeping change in social attitudes, it was completed in just a few years from the late 1960s to early 1970s.

Accurate Swedish translation the first time around

Trust in your translation provider is the key to receiving the quality translation you are looking for. At WorldAccess we pride ourselves on delivering your Swedish translation project that is backed up with a guarantee.

Your Swedish translation will only be done by in-country translators with proven experience in the subject of your original document. A Project Manager, who is also an experienced linguist, will be dedicated to your translation project.

We'll provide your Swedish translated document in exactly the same format as your original unless specified different. This means you'll have an accurate Swedish translation you can use straight away.

Things to consider when translating between Swedish and other Languages

Layout designs - Text typically expands or contracts when translating one language to another. English to Swedish translations and Swedish to English translations, will contract or expand depending on the subject matter.

Which Swedish do you need for your translation?

Getting the Swedish translation of your documents right can be very tricky. Clearly there's only one Swedish language but as in most countries different sections of the population will have different ways of saying things. Your Account Manager will discuss the target market of your document with you. Clearly if your Swedish translation is aimed at teenagers it will need to use their phrases and maybe even slang. Missing these small issues can be the difference between a successful translation and a bad one.

Specialist industry Swedish translators

With a large network of in-country, bilingual Swedish translator, WorldAccess Translations can respond quickly and effectively to your Swedish language translation needs. Our translation teams are professional linguists performing translation from English to Swedish and Swedish to English for a range of documents in various industries.

Swedish Translation Quality Procedures

We work within documented quality procedures and will adopt additional quality controls in order to align with client-side process. Each Swedish translator is selected based on their experience and special areas of expertise.

Translation Confidentiality

All translators are bound by a commercial confidentiality and corporate nondisclosure agreement.
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