We’ve created this guide to help you get closer to your Norwegian customers. A web presence that is in tune with Norway’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
Over 95% of Norwegians speak Norwegian.
English is the main foreign language taught in schools, and 90% of Norwegians have some level of fluency in English.
Should you be formal or informal when addressing your customers?
In Norway it is expected to adopt an informal but respectful tone when addressing your customers.
Norwegians prioritise the values of simplicity, humility, equality, and respect. They do not like to show off and will not be impressed by those who do.
The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business survey ranked Norway as 9th out of 189 countries in 2016. This is reflected in Norwegian’s openness, transparency, and straight-forward way of conducting business and talking to each other.
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
This is a comma (,)
- e.g 1,5 hours.
Thousands and decimals
The thousand separator is a space for large numbers
- e.g. 1524 people, 10 000 people.
The country code is +47. Telephone numbers are in an eight-digit format consisting of the area code and full number dialling for local and national calls
- e.g. (+47) 800 22 222.
Freephone numbers have the prefix 8.
Good to know
Norwegians spell out numbers from 0-12 and use numbers for anything higher
- e.g. four, five, eleven, 18, 59, 300.
5 Currency format
Norwegian krone. This is represented by the sign kr. Its trading three letter code is NOK.
The krone note denominations are 1000 kr 500 kr 200 kr 100 kr 50 kr. The krone coin denominations are 20 kr 10 kr 5 kr 1 kr.
The plural for krone is kroner.
6 Dates and times
Date and time formats
In Norway the date format is DD.MM.YYYY. Day, month, and year are separated by a full point, e.g. 24.03.2017.
7 Hour formats
The 24-hour clock is used in Norway. The hour and minute separator is a dot (.),
8 Working days
Standard working days are Monday to Friday.
9 Things to avoid in the Norwegian market
Every culture has different superstitions and traditions which are always worth noting, especially when entering a new market.
The Norwegians consider the number 13 to be unlucky.
10 Important rules
Here are the top translation tips that will make you sound like a local in no time:
Assemble a dedicated team of translators, reviewers, and approvers who communicate with each other directly. This will lead to an efficiently-created and polished translation
Give your translation team all the necessary information, instructions, references, resources, and tools they need to carry out their translations. This will help them work more efficiently
Encourage your translators to avoid word-for-word translations as this can make copy in taglines, headlines, and introductory paragraphs sound unnatural. Ask them to interpret your original copy into Norwegian using their own judgement
Keep it simple. Norwegian is not as “wordy” as English, so concentrate on getting the substance and essence of a sentence to ensure an effective translation
When deciding to leave feature names in English, check how this affects your final reader. For example, saying 'Banana' (feature name) in one sentence and 'yellow fruit' (descriptive) in the next might not be an obvious pair to a Norwegian reader
A Norwegian translator will not translate a word or terms with initial caps. To avoid confusion, give your translator a glossary of terms which are fine to translate
Carry out all the necessary testing or training before assembling your translation teams. You should ensure they're experienced in translation and in copywriting, as well as understanding the identity of your brand. This will help you pick up errors before your text material reaches its final stage