Sweden ladies red-faced over infectious 'clap' tag

The Local Sweden
The Local Sweden - [email protected]
Sweden ladies red-faced over infectious 'clap' tag
The Swedish women's national football team. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Swedish is a peculiar language, and translating expressions into English can be tricky, as most expats know. The women's national football team got a taste of this on Tuesday, when their international slogan inadvertently encouraged fans to spread gonorrhoea around Sweden.


Sweden's World Cup hopefuls launched their new slogan ahead of this summer's Fifa Women's World Cup in Canada in a video clip on Tuesday, using the hash tag #klappaförsverige and its rather unfortunate translation #clapforsweden.

Now, we promise that the slogan is perfectly innocent in Swedish, simply urging fans to, ahem, applaud the Swedish team. But most Swedes are well versed in their English slang ('clap' also means gonorrhea) and the video clip quickly went viral.

"I wonder who thought of this hashtag? Google what clap means in English..." wrote Gothenburg-based journalist Johan Rylander on Twitter.

And Daniel Ahonen, a football player for Swedish club IK Sirius, tweeted: "Clap quickly translated means gonorrhoea. The hashtag #ClapforSweden is pretty funny. Good PR people over at the ladies' side!"

Gonorrhoea is one of Sweden's most common sexually transmitted diseases, and has been on the rise for years. Last year, 1,336 people contracted the STD, compared to 1,113 in 2013 and 1,097 the year before that. A decade ago, in 2005, only 691 people had gonorrhoea, according to Sweden's Public Health Agency (Folkhälsomyndigheten).

The Swedish Football Association's communications director, Niklas Bodell, admitted there had been some “embarrassed laughs” in the office over the incident and said they would tweak the translation to something a little more child-friendly.

“To avoid potential risks of misunderstanding we'll have to stop using this translation. But how we change it is up to the Swedish team,” he told the Expressen tabloid.

READ ALSO: Residents of Fjuckby demand new name

Sweden kicks off the Fifa Women's World Cup against Nigeria on June 8th and is expected to face tough competition from the United States and Germany -- the favourites to win -- as the tournament progresses.

Earlier this year, Swedish coach Pia Sundhage told The Local that Sweden had a fair chance of taking home the cup.

"The central line and the goalkeeper are important, if we can get ourselves together there we can go far. Caroline Seger, Lotta Schelin and Nilla Fischer are three world players who can inspire others to play well too," she said.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also