• Sweden's news in English
 
jobs_header_v3

Video: Swedes untangle the untranslatable

29 Jan 2013, 14:31

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit


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
No fire, but: Gävle's baby yule goat run over by car
The tiny goat before the attack. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Not a great Christmas tradition, guys.

Swedes give low marks to pupils' performance
A classroom in Sweden. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Less than a fourth believe that Swedish pupils learn what they need to in school, a new poll suggests.

My Swedish Career
'Hats off to the Swedish, I've learned a lot from them'
Miss Clara head chef Daniel Guest. Photo: AWB

The Local speaks to Daniel Guest, head chef at Stockholm's Hotel Miss Clara about working in Sweden, Swedish Christmas food, and why he has strong opinions on sugar.

Swedish Lucia advert sparks love and hate online
Photo: Janerik Henriksson / TT

An advert for Sweden’s Åhléns has unleashed a heated online debate after the department store chain unveiled a new campaign featuring a dark-skinned child, whose gender wasn’t obvious to all, dressed as a Lucia.

IKEA founder Kamprad suffers broken hip
Photo: Thord Nilsson / TT file picture

Ninety-year-old IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad has suffered from a broken hip, which temporarily resulted in him being hospitalised, but is now in good recovery, his assistant said on Sunday. He may have to skip the traditional IKEA Christmas celebrations in his native Älmhult though.

What are Swedish values? Many Swedes are unsure
Photo: Erik Johansen / TT

Although perhaps one of the hottest potatoes in the Swedish political debate right now, many Swedes still find it hard to pinpoint exactly what Swedish values are, a new study shows.

Swedes protest cutbacks in personal assistance budget
Demonstrations were held in 25 towns and cities across Sweden on Saturday. Photo: Janerik Hansson / TT

Thousands of people staged demonstrations across Sweden on Saturday to protest recent cutbacks in the budget funding personal assistance for people with disabilities.

Police launch manhunt after deadly Stockholm shooting
No suspects have yet been arrested over the attack. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Swedish police have launched a massive manhunt after masked gunmen barged into a Stockholm café and shot two people to death late on Friday.

Sweden has fourth happiest workers in the world: report
Is Swedish fika the secret? Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden is home to the fourth happiest workers in the world, an international survey has claimed.

Here's how much Ikea staff are getting for Christmas
Christmas comes early for Ikea staff. Photo: Vegard Wivestad Grøtt/NTB scanpix/TT

Staff at Ikea are getting an early Christmas treat in the form of millions of euros to share between them.

Sponsored Article
18 Stockholm innovations to keep an eye on
National
Final proof that Sweden has NOT banned Christmas lights
Sponsored Article
Smart songwriters: Sweden’s next big music export?
Travel
IN PICTURES: Stockholm's new myth-busting Viking museum
The Local Voices
Job market matchmaker hooks up 1,300 newcomers and Swedes
Blog updates

14 November

Hello darkness, my old friend (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"I started thinking about November’s blog for The Local at the end of October, as the…" READ »

 

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm attracts so much talent from abroad
Gallery
People-watching: November 30th
Sponsored Article
Sweden to Hong Kong: The Local guide
National
This is how cold it's going to get in Sweden this week
Gallery
Property of the week: Skellefteå
National
Inside Sweden's perilous Sami reindeer pilgrimage
Sponsored Article
We visited 5 'murder spots' in Malmö
The Local Voices
'My name is Sami and I am a proud Swede - it hurts when people say I'm not Swedish'
Sponsored Article
Programmers' bootcamp: Change your life in 12 weeks
National
Swedish Advent 'less popular than Christmas Eve'
Gallery
People-watching: November 25th-27th
Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm startups are teaching kids to program
Swedish city to put all workers through LGBT course
Sponsored Article
Smart songwriters: Sweden’s next big music export?
National
The five weirdest attacks on Sweden's giant straw yule goat
Gallery
People-watching: November 23rd
Sponsored Article
'Learning to trade gave me the life I wanted'
The Local Voices
'Swedes are stylish: you need to dress well if you want to fit in'
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: leading the way in clean energy innovation
National
Critics slam Swedish paper's Donald Trump cartoon as anti-Semitic
Sponsored Article
Michael Björklund: 'Being a chef is crazy work'
National
Men call Sweden's mansplaining hotline for mansplaining tips
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of New York
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
Sponsored Article
HIV in Sweden today is not like it was yesterday
Gallery
People-watching: November 18th-20th
Sponsored Article
Mette Helbæk: ‘We have a basic human need to connect'
Culture
Shooting starts on The Bridge 4
Sponsored Article
Terje Håkonsen: 'I try to make everything count'
Travel
Sweden's ten most beautiful places
Sponsored Article
Lina Thomsgård: 'I try to break down barriers every day'
The Local Voices
Having a Swedish girlfriend didn't help this Egyptian evade culture shock
Sponsored Article
'We wanted to turn ideas into action'
Gallery
People-watching: November 16th
Culture
What the world of Harry Potter would look like... set in Sweden
National
Here's where Sweden's best non-native English speakers live
The Local Voices
This new book by a Syrian writer gives refugee children their own hero
Politics
Do Swedish polls underestimate support for Sweden Democrats?
3,496
jobs available