Nordic Languages: Data, Tips and Fun Facts

Approximately 20 million people live in the Nordic countries of Europe—Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and their associated territories such as Greenland—and speak a Scandinavian language. The most common language is Swedish, spoken by nine million people, followed by Danish (six million) and Norwegian (five million). These three languages are spoken by 80% of the Nordic population. The remaining 20% speak Finnish or minority languages such as Icelandic and Faroese.

Clinical Trials and Healthcare in Nordic Countries

  • There are thousands of clinical trials underway in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Visit the Nordic Trial Alliance for a database of currently recruiting clinical trials in the Nordic countries. (Source: Nordic Trial Alliance)
  • From 1995 to 2013 in Finland, there has been an increase in total healthcare expenditure of more than €8,000 million, making its actual expense €18,467 million. (Source: “Health at a Glance 2015″, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development)
  • The healthcare expenditure as a share of GDP has reached the same level as Nordic countries in general. Only Denmark’s proportion is clearly higher than it is in other countries. (Source: “Health at a Glance 2015″)
  • According to Pharma Industry, due to its operating environment, pharmaceutical companies conduct hundreds of clinical trials in Finland. Forty-one percent of the clinical trials are oncology studies, but cardiovascular trials have the largest percentage of enrolled patients (35%).
  • Once Sweden joined the European Union, it had to harmonize its medical legislation so that it would be the same as the rest of the European Union. Since then, the Swedish Medicinal Products Agency has been taking an active part in developing new legislation together with other EU member states.
  • In 2009, a re-regulation of the Swedish pharmacy market took place. Due to this change, there was a huge increase of the total number of pharmacies in Sweden—from 950 to over 1,400.
  • Sweden, Denmark, and Norway have some of the highest quality healthcare systems in the world. However, according to the World Bank, these Nordic countries also have some of the highest healthcare expenditures (as a percentage of GDP). For an overview of the healthcare system, healthcare market, and healthcare infrastructure in Denmark, Norway and Sweden click here.

Language Readability Tip: There are several readability tools writers can use to determine a document’s readability (how easy it is to read). For example, in Sweden, medical writers can use the Lasbarhets Index Swedish Readability Formula (LIX). As with other readability tools, LIX is based on a combination of word and sentence length. LIX assesses word length by estimating the percentage of words with more than six letters. Scores below 40 are regarded as easy and scores of 50 and above indicate text that is difficult to read. Read this issue’s Tips & Tools article for more tips and tools for appropriate readability levels.

Nordic Fun Facts:

  • If high-speed internet access is high on your list of necessities, you might consider moving to Denmark, Finland, Norway or Sweden. According to a 2016 report by Speedtest, these countries have some of the fastest fixed broadband download speeds.
  • According to The Economist, Nordic countries are ranked top in many areas including, economic competitiveness, social health and happiness.
  • Norway is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and according to the Global Peace Index, it is also the most peaceful country.
  • The official Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square in London has come from Norway every year since 1946.
  • There’s a unique golf course on the border of Sweden and Finland where half the holes are in one country and half in the other.
  • The official Twitter account of @Sweden is given to a random citizen every week to manage.
  • The Icelandic language remains unchanged from ancient Norse. That means 1,000‑year‑old texts are still easily read.
  • First names not previously used in Iceland must be approved by the Icelandic Naming Committee.
  • In 2010, Finland became the first country in the world to make internet access a legal right.

Culturally adapting and localizing content for targeted market segments will help global businesses gain a foothold in the local markets and maximize sales in the Nordic countries.

Welocalize Life Sciences is an ISO 9001, ISO 13485, and ISO 17100 certified language services company that specializes in translation and interpreting services for the life sciences industry.

Contact us if you’re in need of professional Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian or Swedish language services—five of the 200+ languages Welocalize Life Sciences offers. Please also follow us on Twitter: @Welocalize_LS.