Make your online presence fit in with the Finnish market

A guide to localisation in Finland

1 Overview

We’ve created this guide to help you get closer to your Finnish customers. A web presence that is in tune with Finland’s culture will make your customers feel well disposed to you, and give them the confidence to do business with you. Get the little details right, and you'll be in a good position right from the start in your new market.

2 The main language

Finnish is the main spoken and written language in Finland. It is spoken by 89% of the population. Swedish is spoken by 6% of the population, and Sami is spoken by less than 1%.

3 Formality

Should you be formal or informal when addressing your customers?

You can write about your products formally or informally. It depends on what fits your product or service. Both styles are acceptable in Finland. Examples of products written in playful, and informal way include YouTube, Gmail, and Google Play.

If you have a financial product, a legal service, or are talking about money, you should adopt a more formal tone and style.

4 Numbering systems and formats

Numerals

Thousands and decimals

The thousand separator is a comma (,)
e.g. 1,524 people.

Telephone numbers

The country code is +358. Telephone numbers are usually in the format of "+358 (0) 12 3456789". Freephone numbers have the 116 or 0800 prefix.

5 Currency format

The Finnish trade in Euros. This is represented by the euro symbol €. Its trading three letter code is EUR. The € is placed after the figure. The coin denomination is the cent represented by a c.

The note denominations500€ 200€ 100€ 50€ 20€ 10€. The coin denominations 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c, and 1c cents.

When writing a legal document or contract it is compulsory to write the code EUR before the figure e.g “the amount required is EUR 200.”

6 Date and time

Date and time formats

In Finland the date format is DD/MM/YY or DD/MM/YYYY. A full point separates the day, month, and year,
e.g. 24.03.17 or 24.03.2017.

The country’s Swedish speakers often write the date with a forward stroke and a space between the month and year,
e.g. 31/5 2002.

7 Hour Formats

The 12-hour clock is preferred in everyday speech and should be written as 9.35 p.m. with a full stop acting as the separator.

The 24-hour format is favoured on digital devices like PCs, phones, tablets, etc. and is the standard format on Android where the separator is a colon,
e.g. 14:24.

8 Working days

Standard working days are Monday to Friday.

9 Things to avoid in the Finnish market

Every culture has different superstitions and traditions which are always worth noting, especially when entering a new market. The Finnish consider the number 13 to be unlucky.

10 Important rules

Here are the top seven translation tips that will make you sound like a local in no time:

  1. Be careful to localise all numbering, pricing, date formats, measurements, currencies etc

  2. Stay clear of colloquialisms and expressions used in your language, as they may not translate in the Finnish market. For example, local slang

  3. Avoid machine translations, as they lose context and local subtleties

  4. Take account of cultural differences so you don’t confuse or offend your Finnish audience. For example, don’t mention Boxing Day in a promotion or assume that it is understood.

  5. Marketing copy created for your native audience is not always ideal for a Finnish audience. In such cases, use, if possible, a native Finnish speaker to ensure you have kept your original idea and tone, while making the copy more suited for a Finnish audience

  6. Keep sentences to their original length, and don’t cut their length to fit a specific space or the meaning will get lost

  7. Use actual native Finnish speakers to translate and to review your final communications

11 Additional guidelines

Discover how to ensure your website is local in tone and language in our website localisation guide.