Here are the top seven translation tips that will make you sound like a local in no time.
We’ve created this guide to help you get closer to your Danish customers. A web presence that is in tune with Denmark’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
Danish is the main spoken and written language in Denmark.
English is understood by over 80% of the population and is used extensively in everyday business communications.
Most of Danes understand Norwegian and Swedish.
German is recognised as a protected minority language in the south of Jutland.
French is spoken by one in ten Danes.
Should you be formal or informal when addressing your customers?
In Denmark, a mainly informal approach is used throughout business and in communications.
When you know them use professional titles such as Doctor, Professor etc. Otherwise use the Danish courtesy titles which are:
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 full point (.). e.g. 1.524 people
The country code is +45.
Telephone numbers are usually in the format of (+45) 12 34 56 78.
Freephone numbers have the prefix 80 e.g. 80 12 34 56.
Good to know
If the text has a number above ten and a number below ten, use numerals for both numbers.
E.g “make 5 coffees and 12 waffles.”
Numerals are used for numbers in all technical and scientific passages.
The Danish use numerals for:
- Percentages e.g. 6%
- Measurements e.g. 20mls
- Date ranges with a hyphen e.g. March 6-25
5 Currency format
Danish krone.This is represented by the lowercase kr. Its trading three letter code is DKK. The coins are called ore.
The krone denominations are 1000kr, 500kr, 200kr,100kr, 50kr.
The coine ore denominations are 20 kroner 10 kroner 5 kroner 2 kroner 1 kroner and half kroner.
6 Dates, times and working days
Date and time formats
In Denmark the date format is DD/MM/YYYY and dots are the most commonly used separator,
When dates are handwritten the stroke and hyphen is often used,
e.g. 24/03 - 2017
Days and months are written in lowercase,
e.g. “mandag” for Monday
7 Hour formats
Both the 24-hour and the 12-hour clock are used in Denmark.
In everyday speech a combination of the 12-hour format and 24-hour format is used.
When speaking in an official setting or when exact times are needed use the 24-hour clock.
When speaking informally use the 12-hour clock with minutes rounded off to the nearest five minutes,
e.g. a quarter to eleven
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,
8 Working days
Standard working days are Monday to Friday.
The week starts on Monday.
9 Things to avoid in the Danish market
Every culture has different superstitions and traditions which are always worth noting, especially when entering a new market. The Danes consider the number 13 to be unlucky.
When saying something like “My interview went well” a Dane will follow this by quickly saying “7 - 9 -13.” This is a combination of lucky numbers, and is the equivalents of the UK saying “touch wood.”
10 Important rules
Be sure to localise pricing, date formats, measurements, and currency
Stay clear of colloquialisms and expressions used in your language, as they may not translate in the Danish market. For example, local slang
Avoid literal translations and guess work
Take account of cultural differences so you don’t confuse or offend your Danish audience. For example, don’t mention Boxing Day in a promotion or assume that it will be understood
Use native translators whenever possible, preferably with a range of expertise as technical translators won’t understand the nuances in marketing copy, for example
Help your translators as much as possible by giving them the context of the piece to be translated and its audience, and providing them with pictures and visuals whenever possible
Provide a glossary and previously approved copy to your translators when you can