• Sweden edition
 
Video: Swedes untangle the untranslatable

Video: Swedes untangle the untranslatable

Published: 29 Jan 2013 14:31 GMT+01:00
Updated: 29 Jan 2013 14:31 GMT+01:00

As English is such a rich and wordy language, you'd surely think there is an English-language equivalent for any Swedish word there is. Right?

Well, not necessarily as our recent list of ten more Swedish words you won’t find in English demonstrated.

So we took our list to the streets of Stockholm with a video camera, and even though we'd already deemed our list of words to be impossible to translate, our interviewees displayed sparkling creativity and some interesting suggestions as we challenged them to prove us wrong.

Could the word for "the day after tomorrow" be "doublemorrow", as someone suggested? Perhaps.

Could a 70-year-old man with a gym in his own house find a simple way of explaining "träningsvärk", the ache in your body after a solid workout? Maybe.

But is "hen", a Swedish word meaning "he or she", another word for chicken? No, definitely not. And not shicken either for that matter.

Confused? Well, check out the video below.

Still hungry for more Swedish words that don't exist in English? Why not check out The Local's original video challenging Swedes in Uppsala with nine untranslatable Swedish words.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

Your comments about this article

15:38 January 29, 2013 by Erwin Mahnke
Must be a deficit of English as most of the words exist 1:1 in German, or for the matter of that genderized creature, in Finnish.
16:09 January 29, 2013 by Ant
English for palla is scrumping
16:17 January 29, 2013 by Suprise
Those made me giggle.. Whenever I'm feeling a little annoyed I ask my BF to tell me what an untranslatable word means in English. To this day he has not given me an adequate answer for lagom. :) For fun I may never admit it if he does ;)
16:20 January 29, 2013 by Ant
English for Palla is Scrumping
18:44 January 29, 2013 by oddsock
In English the name for the day after tomorrow is Thursday. Ha!
21:52 January 29, 2013 by millionmileman
I own a Finnish built Saab Viggen car which is supposed to mean Thunderbolt but I have never found this translation on any on-line dictionary. this derivation of lightning is the most popular name for the world's aircraft manufactures.

The Japanese even had thier own canard-wing plane that flew 3 days before Hiroshima called the Kiyushu Shinden (divine lightning)

http://youtu.be/AGZ77qV0Mvo
14:34 January 30, 2013 by tracygrimshaw
Hen = They
19:53 February 1, 2013 by tadchem
The English equivalent of 'hen' ("he or she") is 'tranny'. As my grandmother told me, if you can't tell right away whether someone is male or female, the difference isn't worth knowing.
05:27 February 19, 2013 by SEK
Maybe this is a difference between British English and American English but "träningsvärk" is "sore", in the U.S. Sore can refer to an open wound or being upset as well but if I lift weights and the next day my muscles ache, I simply say I'm sore. "Hen" can be translated as "one". One must not worry...
Today's headlines
National
Northern Swedes wake up to September snow

Northern Swedes wake up to September snow

Summer has come to a definite end in Kiruna as residents of the northern town were greeted with a blanket of snow on Sunday morning. READ  

Elections 2014
Ex-Prime Minister: Sweden is falling apart
Former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson. Photo: Leo Sellén/TT

Ex-Prime Minister: Sweden is falling apart

Former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson has said that the election success of the Sweden Democrats is a "slap" in the face for the Stockholm establishment. READ  

National
Trio prosecuted for hate attack against Somalis
Somali nationals taking part in a demonstration against deportations in Stockholm. File photo:Björn Larsson Ask/SvD/ TT

Trio prosecuted for hate attack against Somalis

Three young men in southern Sweden suspected of attacking Somali refugees with stones and screaming "sieg heil" have been indicted on charges of racial agitation. READ  

National
Swedish airfares to get cheaper in 2015

Swedish airfares to get cheaper in 2015

Sweden is set to buck the European trend of rising air prices with fares expected to drop next year according to a new report. READ  

National
Swede's homemade submarine nets fortune
Eric Westerberg's homemade submarine Isabelle. Photo: PS.nu

Swede's homemade submarine nets fortune

A Swedish submarine enthusiast who spent over 3,500 hours making his own vessel has sold his prized possession for 705,000 kronor ($98,500) in an online auction. READ  

National
Cops reported for making 'Roma' comment

Cops reported for making 'Roma' comment

Police in northern Sweden have been reported to the Equality Ombudsman for describing a wanted suspect as having a "Roma appearance." READ  

Donald Duck and Zlatan get Swedish votes
A political career for Zlatan? Some fans seem to want to see that. Photo: Peter Dejong/TT

Donald Duck and Zlatan get Swedish votes

The Bilderberg Group, the Satanic Initiative and Adolf Hitler all received votes in Sweden’s general election, according to a list released by the country’s electoral authority. READ  

Sport
Stockholm fails bid to host Euro 2020 games
The Swedish team in action. Photo: TT

Stockholm fails bid to host Euro 2020 games

Sweden's capital has missed out on a chance to host any Euro 2020 games, with Copenhagen the only Scandinavian city among the thirteen winning locations. READ  

Vicar: God rejects fans of women priests
Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of Uppsala, is the first woman to head the Swedish church. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Vicar: God rejects fans of women priests

A Swedish priest has been fired after telling his congregation that people who support female priests would be rejected by God - despite the fact that his own church is led by a woman. READ  

Analysis
Women set to dominate top post-election jobs
Margot Wallström (right) could become Stefan Löfven's new Minister of Foreign Affairs. Photo: TT

Women set to dominate top post-election jobs

Sweden could soon get a female Foreign Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt's ousted Moderate Party is preparing for its first woman leader and the grandmother of actor Hugh Grant's son is being tipped as Parliament's next Speaker. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
The 'black gold' of Sweden's west coast.
National
West Sweden prepares for the 2014 lobster premiere
Society
What's on in Sweden
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Gallery
Property of the week - Eskilstuna
Blog updates

20 September

How a Frog Can Save the Environment (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"What we do we imagine when we think of children enjoying nature? Perhaps it’s fishing, marveling at lightning bugs on a muggy July day or blowing on the wispy petals of a dandelion to make a special wish. But perhaps most iconic of the playful innocence in childhood is hopping after and trying to catch..." READ »

 

19 September

Editor’s blog (The Local Sweden) »

"Happy Friday readers! It sure has been a exciting week in Sweden, where we’re set to get a new Prime Minister after Fredrik Reinfeldt stepped down following Sunday’s elections. The Local blogged live from the key political gatherings across Stockholm. Why not re-visit the action by taking a look at our photos, tweets, videos and analysis? Since the..." READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
How I became a surf blogger when I moved to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Gallery
People-watching: September 11th
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Politics
Five possible election outcomes
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Gallery
Property of the week - Hornstull, Stockholm
Analysis
Five differences between the UK and Sweden
Welshman Jonny Luck is now a chef in Sweden
Society
How I opened my own restaurant in Sweden's Malmö
Sponsored Article
Stockholm tech fest: relive the magic
Gallery
People-watching September 8th
Photo: TT
Politics
Feminists fight for first seats
Politics
Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats
Sheryl Sandberg says women have "low expectations"
Tech
Facebook exec talks women's limits in Swedish business
Politics
Left Party calls for justice and equality
Politics
Green Party wants 'better world' for kids
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

866
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN