Norwegian Translation Services
Whether you are looking for a Norwegian translation for something technical, legal or medical, or simply a letter, we can help you.
We will equip you with knowledge and methods, enabling you to communicate in the correct written form of Norwegian, so can reach your target audience with ease and confidence.
We offer a professional Norwegian to English and English to Norwegian language translation service. Here is some information which you will find useful as the Norwegian language is full of interesting facts and essential tips when you are looking to communicate effectively in Arabic speaking countries.
Norwegian Language Services
Location: Northern Europe
Population: 5.1 million
Language Family: North Germanic
Related Languages: Swedish, Danish
Number of Global Speakers: Around 5 million, mostly in Norway. There are also Norwegian speakers in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Britain, Spain, Canada and the USA.
- Variants of Norwegian
There are in fact two official forms of written Norwegian, one called Bokmål, which literally translates as “book tongue”, and another called Nynorsk, or “new Norwegian”. Public documents can be produced in either language and municipalities can choose whether to teach children in Bokmål or Nynorsk. Around 85% of Norwegian school children are taught in Bokmål, making it the clear leader. Bokmål originates from the Danish language, whereas Nynorsk was “invented” in the nineteenth century by a man called Ivar Aasen, based on the Norwegian spoken by those living in the countryside, as he considered this to be purer Norwegian than that spoken by middle- and upper-class city-dwellers. Bokmål currently has associations with urbanity and modernity, and is the language of youth culture, pop music, fashion and newspapers and magazines. Nynorsk has closer associations with tradition and regional culture. What form of written Norwegian to use has obvious repercussions for communication; it is very important to have a thorough understanding of when to use each type of written Norwegian as this has an impact on your target audience.
There is no spoken standard Norwegian – nobody “speaks” Bokmål or Nynorsk as they are written forms of the language – but instead the population speaks in a variety of dialects that are usually mutually intelligible, although they can differ considerably in terms of vocabulary, grammar, syntax and accent. The reason that dialects can have so much variation is because, until recently, communities lived in isolated pockets of the country, separated by mountains and fjords, with very little communication between them. This meant that the way that they used language developed without any influence from other communities, facilitating the development of linguistic peculiarities and idiosyncrasies.
Although there is no “standard” dialect, all dialects in Norway are now mutually intelligible. However, dialects play a strong role in regional identity and speaking in one’s regional dialect is a way of expressing local pride. Even if Norwegians might speak in a way that is closer to standard written Bokmål or Nynorsk while at work or in formal situations, they will often switch back to using their regional dialect when they go home.
- Minority languages in Norway
As well as the various dialects of Norwegian, Norway is home to a variety of minority languages spoken by various indigenous groups. The Sami, for example, are a small indigenous population who live in very far northern areas of Norway, Sweden and Finland. In English they are also known as Laplanders. The Sami language is protected in Norway and is an official language in seven Norwegian provinces. The Sami people have their own parliament in Norway to protect Sami language and culture. Sami languages are spoken by around 16,000 people in Norway. There is also the Kven language, closely related to Finnish, spoken by around 5,000 to 8,000 people. The Romani languages, originating from India, are spoken by around 7,000 people.
- Differences between Norwegian and English
It is often said that, as a Germanic language, Norwegian is in fact quite an easy language for English speakers to learn. Norwegian verb conjugation is also fairly simple. The way that sentences are constructed is fairly similar to English and there are also quite a large amount of cognates which makes translation simpler.
However, a less experienced translator may be tricked by false cognates, or false friends, which are words that look similar to English words but actually mean something different. For example:
aktor means “prosecutor”
dress means “man’s suit”
Island means “Iceland”
konvolutt means “envelope”
Rather than differences at a grammatical and syntactical level, therefore, the difficulties inherent in Norwegian translation and interpreting come more in the form of knowing which variety of Norwegian to write or speak and in understanding and making oneself understood with regard to the huge variety of dialects that span the length and breadth of the country.
- Some interesting Norwegian facts
According to the World Bank Report in 2014, Norway is the 6th easiest country to do business with in the world. It has a sophisticated economy dominated by the offshore oil and gas sector, and crude oil, natural gas and electricity make up 65% of its exports. Norway has a good trading relationship with the UK and presents excellent opportunities for businesses looking to expand abroad. Industries presenting investment opportunities for UK companies include the energy sector, consumer goods, healthcare and infrastructure, among others. Although English is a business language in Norway, expert translation services are always needed for the accurate and professional translation of all kinds of business documents, legal contracts and personal correspondence. It is also extremely important to show potential clients and partners that you are willing to adapt to their language and business practices and this can foster good feeling and stronger professional relationships.
Since the huge rise in the popularity of Scandinavian crime literature and television dramas, which has been distinguished as a genre in its own right and is often referred to as “Nordic noir”, demand for high-quality Norwegian literary translation has soared. The hugely popular Jo Nesbø comes from Norway and is internationally famous for his series of thrillers featuring police detective Harry Hole. He has sold over 23 million copies of his books and these books have been translated into over 40 languages. A number of other hugely popular Norwegian crime authors (Anne Holt, Karin Fossum and Thomas Enger among them) are also contributing to this phenomenon.