Ramblings on dialects and summer solstice from vacation in Scandinavia
No translator is an island
June 9, 2011
Some pictures from our Swedish immersion
June 29, 2011
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Swedish Translation Services and I are on the second week of vacationing in Sweden and Finland.  I am immersing in the Swedish language and culture and taking a break from large translation projects. I am currently in a Swedish speaking part of Finland visiting my father, who went through bypass surgery two weeks ago. Visiting him also puts vacationing and work in a new perspective.

One thing that fascinates me here is the many Swedish dialects spoken along the coastline of Finland. On top of my mind I can think of at least 15, each little county has its own dialect. In my father’s little city, we speak a dialect called The Närpes Dialect. According to scientific studies, it is one of the dialects that most closely resemble ancient Swedish. It is very interesting how it has been preserved for thousands of years. In theory, we in Närpes grow up bilingual, speaking our dialect, plus “real Swedish”. On top of that we start learning Finnish in third grade. Perhaps this is the source for my lifelong love of languages. I am curious to know if other translators were immersed in a different dialect and/or language early on.

The other fascinating observation with my old hometown is very noticeable during the summer solstice. The sun never really sets completely and it never gets dark at night. We Scandinavians love this and we all become more active during the summer months. Tourists have a hard time sleeping due to the light at night. All in all, it makes for a beautiful season, almost magical, and I am enjoying it to its fullest.

I hope you all have a great middle of summer. I will travel back to Sweden to celebrate a traditional Swedish midsummer tomorrow, and enjoy more of my vacation.

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


  1. Sandra Mangsen says:

    Wonderful to have discovered your blog from Närpes, by chance. All of my grandparents emigrated to New England from that area and spoke the Närpes dialect.
    Last year my sister and I visited the area for several days, meeting many family members and seeing old homesteads. Next year we hope to take in the tomato festival, as some family members have large greenhouses!

    Good travels.


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  3. What a vacation! As far as the Närpes dialect is concerned, those of us who have Finnish as our mother tongue and learned Swedish at school, most Swedish dialects in Finland are somehow understandable, but the Närpes one is a bit like listening to Danish — you get the general drift of what’s being said but can’t really say you understand it.

    OK, if you know something about tomatoes in Swedish you might be a bit wiser (Närpes being Finland’s tomato capital).

    Have a great summer!

    • Tess says:

      Thanks Kimmo! My heritage makes me an expert on tomatoes, unfortunately I will miss the “Tomato Carnival” in Närpes. Interesting to hear your point of view on the Närpes dialect.