What language should you translate to localize in Denmark?
If you want to read the fairytales by Hans Christian Andersen in his own words, you will have to learn Danish – a language descending from Old Norse, which was the language spoken in Scandinavia during the Viking era. Today, the people are friendlier, and often referred to as some of the happiest people in the world, but the language is still notoriously brutal to learn for foreigners. And that is before we have even started on the dialects. Despite the country’s modest size, some dialects are so different that even native Danes from different parts of the country will have a hard time understanding each other. The good thing is that this mainly goes for spoken language, and, if you choose to localize to the Danish market, written Danish is the same standard used by all.
One of the more famous untranslatable words is hygge. It is a core part of Danish culture and according to the definition in Wikipedia, it is a “word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment“. It is not a specifically Danish phenomenon, though. All cultures know how to hygge, but the Danes (and Norwegians) just have a word for it, and even though they may find it hard to describe, they all know instantly whether something is hyggeligt or not.
Hvis du vil læse H.C. Andersens eventyr med hans egne ord, skal du lære dansk – et sprog, der stammer fra oldnordisk, som var det sprog, der blev talt i Skandinavien i vikingetiden. I dag er danskerne venligere indstillet, og omtales ofte som nogle af de lykkeligste mennesker i verden, men sproget bliver stadig betragtet som et af de sværeste at lære for udlændinge. Og så er vi ikke engang begyndt at tale om dialekterne endnu. På trods af landets beskedne størrelse er nogle dialekter så forskellige, at selv indfødte danskere fra forskellige dele af landet kan have svært ved at forstå hinanden. Det gode er, at dette hovedsageligt gælder for talesprog, og hvis man vælger at lokalisere til det danske marked, følger det danske skriftsprog den samme standard på tværs af landet.
Et af de mere berømte uoversættelige ord er hygge. Det er en central del af dansk kultur, og ifølge definitionen i Wikipedia er det et ord, der “indebærer noget rart, afslappet, trygt og genkendeligt“. Det er dog ikke et specifikt dansk fænomen. Alle kulturer ved, hvordan man hygger sig, men danskerne (og nordmændene) har bare et ord for det, og selvom de måske har svært ved at beskrive det, ved de alle med det samme, om noget er hyggeligt eller ej.Alex, English/Spanish translator
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Faroese – The language is spoken by the residents of the Faroe Islands, a self-governing Danish territory. Greenlandic – spoken in Greenland another self-governing territory of Denmark- , English (86%), German (47%), Swedish (13%)
High proficiency (EF) – 3 of 112 countries/regions in the world- 3/35 position in Europe.
Currency: Danish krone
Population: 5.86 m (2020)
Population density: 146/km2
GDP: 397.1 billion USD (2020)
GDP per capita: 67,803.0USD (2020)
Exports: $102 billion (2020)
Internet users: 99% penetration, 5.77 million
Unemployment rate: 5.1% (2020)
Urbanisation: 88.116% (2020)
Literacy: 99% (2019)
Arabic numerals and comma as decimal separator, space as thousands separator
Date format: yyyy-mm-dd / dd-mm-yyyy
Time: 24h time system
Country code: 0045
Language data sources: Worldatlas/Britannica//EF/Wikipedia; Demography data sources: IMF/Worldometers; Conventions data source: Wikipedia; Economy data sources: WTO/OEC/CIA/Esomar/Datareportal; Statistics data sources: Datareportal/WorldBank/UN/UNESCO/CEIC/IMF/Culturalatlas/Commisceoglobal
Facts and data
$97.2 billion (2020). Cars ($5.24B), Packaged Medicaments ($3.74B), Broadcasting Equipment ($2.33B), Computers ($2.25B), and Refined Petroleum ($2.14B), importing mostly from Germany ($20.8B), Sweden ($11.6B), Netherlands ($7.95B), China ($7.52B), and Poland ($4.49B).
Financial inclusion factors (over 15 years of age)
• 100% have an account with a financial institution
• 45% have a credit card
• 88% make online purchases
Ease of doing business
It is easy to conduct business (rated 85.3 out of 100) ranked 2nd out of 44 OECD and high-income countries ranked 4th out of 190 countries worldwide (2020, World Bank).
$102 billion (2020). Packaged Medicaments ($14.5B), Pig Meat ($3.21B), Electric Generating Sets ($2.4B), Vaccines, blood, antisera, toxins and cultures ($1.73B), and Cheese ($1.71B), exporting mostly to Germany ($13.7B), United States ($11.3B), Sweden ($9.45B), Netherlands ($6.21B), and United Kingdom ($5.83B).
Main local online stores
Zalando, Amazon and Saxo Boghandel, eBay, H&M, Bilka, CDON.com, Coop.dk, Elgiganten and DSB.dk.
‘Mostly free’ (rated 78 out of 100) ranked 7th out of 45 European countries ranked 10th out of 186 countries worldwide (2022, Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal).
Global Innovation Index
Ranked 6th out of 39 European countries, 9th out of 132 worldwide.
The Global Innovation Index captures the innovation
ecosystem performance of 132 economies and tracks the most recent global innovation trends.
Service Imports (2018)
Service imports (2017)
Service exports (2017)
Most complex products by PCI
Product Complexity Index measures the knowledge intensity of a product by considering the knowledge intensity of its exporters
Most specialised products by RCA Index
Specialisation is measured using Revealed Comparative Advantage, an index that takes the ratio between Denmark observed and expected exports in each product
Export Opportunities by Relatedness
Relatedness measures the distance between a country's current exports and each product, the barchart show only products that Denmark is not specialized in
E commerce payment methods in Denmark split by value
Source: J.P. Morgan 2019 Payment Trends
Most popular online shopping payment methods in Denmark in 2019
Number of unemployed individuals after the coronavirus outbreak in Denmark from March 11 to November 12, 2020
Source: Statista 2020
Reach most of the online purchasing power
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The internet is the media platform most used by Danes. Audiences for linear TV broadcasting and print media are declining. Public broadcaster DR runs national TV networks and national and regional radio stations.
In 2018, the then centre-right government cut DR’s budget by 20% and moved to phase out the licence fee which provides much of the broadcaster’s funding. DR responded by announcing plans to cut or streamline some of its services.
TV 2, a government-owned national commercial broadcaster, operates regional outlets and is available by subscription.
Private TVs broadcast via digital terrestrial, satellite and cable platforms. Swedish, American and German companies are major players in broadcasting.
JP/Politikens Hus and Berlingske Media publish the leading broadsheet and tabloid national newspapers.
Freedom of expression is safeguarded in law. Freedom House says the media reflect a range of political opinions and are often critical of the government.
The websites of Ekstrabladet and B.T. newspapers and the DR and TV 2 websites are among the top online news destinations. Facebook is the leading social network.
Media data source: BBC
98% penetration, 5.67 million
Share of web traffic by device
27.40% mobile phones, 70.98% computers (laptops and desktops), 1.60% tablet devices, others 0.02%
Median speed of mobile Internet connection
Median speed of fixed Internet connection
Mobile connection as a percentage of total population: 152.4%
Percentage of mobile connections that are broadband (3G-5G): 98.3%
Most popular web search engines
Google (97%), Bing (1.61%), Yahoo (0.78%), DuckduckGo (0.37%), Ecosia (0.12%), Yandex Ru (0.04%)
Most used social media
Facebook (62.14%), Pinterest (14.02%), Twitter (10.7%), Instagram (9%), YouTube (2.36%), Tumblr (0.95%)
82 yrs (2020)
Average age of the population
41.8 yrs (2020)
10% of GDP
Glass Ceiling Index
70 out 100, ranked 25th out of 29 countries.
The glass-ceiling index measures the environment for working women combining data on higher education, labor-force participation, pay, child-care costs, maternity and paternity rights, business-school applications, and representation in senior jobs.
Graduates (tertiary education)
In Denmark, 45% of 25-34 year-olds had completed tertiary education in 2018, which is similar to the OECD average of 44% (Figure 1). Since 2008, this proportion has increased by 8-9 percentage points in Denmark, in line with the average increase across OECD countries. (2019)
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Dialects spoken in Denmark
7- Fjends Herred
14- Det vestlige Sønderjylland
15-Det østlige sønderjylland1
17- Det centrale Slesvig
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Photo credit: Revolt, Unsplash