Business Blog Diary – discussion with a Swedish literary translator and a great testmionial
Business blog diary – report from Nordic Translation Industry Forum
November 29, 2012
Great linguistic resources for Swedish translators
December 19, 2012
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Time flies when you are having fun. Once again I am swamped with translation work. I just finished up a big translation of a travel software and more communication material for my regular NGO-client and other smaller projects.

One of my more fun projects lately was to translate a wedding speech for the father of the bride. The bride was marrying a Swede and the father of the bride had taken some Swedish lessons, but needed some help with translating a wedding speech, plus a sound recording of it for his pronunciation. This is the message I received after the wedding:

“I just wanted to let you know that I delivered the speech you translated for me at my daughter’s wedding yesterday. To put it mildly, it was a huge hit with both English and Swedish speaking guests. It got big laughs and “aaaaaaawwwwwwws” (from the Swedes) in the right places and great applause from my new Swedish family at the end. I had wanted to thank them for coming and honor them, and that’s exactly how they took the speech. Thank you again very much for your help in making the wedding a great success.”

These kinds of testimonials make me believe I have the best job in the world.

I have a friend here in Stockholm who shares an office space with a literary translator and introduced me to her. I took the translator out for lunch to learn more about English into Swedish literary translations in Sweden. My first question was how you survive. She explained that there is a fixed minimum wage for literary translators in Sweden. This wage is still low, but not ridiculously low. There are also opportunities to apply for grants. She has been working as a literary translator for 10 years now, with a journalistic education in the past. She started her career as a literary translator when a friend recommended a job to her. Most of her jobs come from referrals and connections. She explained her translation process, schedules, networking events and contact with publishing companies. It was a very interesting lunch and I am glad I have more insight into how literary translation works in Sweden.

These last two weekends I have had visits from old childhood friends. I am so grateful to be closer to them and reconnecting right now. They are the kind of friends that grew up with you and have the same values and cultural background, which mean that there is a higher understanding in some cases than I can have with friends from other cultures.

I will make this short, since I really need to get back to my translation work. Have a great week everyone!


Swedish Translation Services is a company owned by Tess Whitty, a freelance translator (English-Swedish), proofreader, editor, copy writer, localizer and entrepreneur.


  1. Interesting insight into Swedish literary translation. Last night our book group chose The hundred year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas jonasson and translated by Rod Bradbury. Sounds quite quirky. Do you know it?

    • Tess says:

      Yes I have read it. Let me know what you think when you have read it.

    • Alina says:

      Alison. I am reading this one at the moment (in English). Maybe we should both come back to this post to discuss it 🙂
      Tess, translating a wedding speech sounds like a lot of fun. Was it a good speech?