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Born in Stockholm (Sweden), now live in Sapporo (Japan). Hold a Ph.D. in computer science and work with computers during the days, perform magic in a bar during the nights (and weekends, for kids). Also used to teach historical fencing back in Sweden.

Friday, July 4, 2014

(Not really) Swedish sweets in Sapporo

Every year around midsummer, the local chocolate and sweets maker Royce has a "Sweden Fair". Their factory is located close to Sweden Hills, a community with connections to Sweden. When I went looking for this years Sweden Fair, it was almost over so they only had two products left.

One product is called "Royce Lingon Tårta", which is almost correct Swedish. It should be Royce Lingontårta. It turned out to be small muffins with lingonberries. There are similar sweets in Sweden, but the word "tårta" is not used for the kinds of things Royce had made. In English it would be translated as cake, but tårta is always a layered cake. There is another word, "kaka", that can be used for cakes and cookies and that would be better in this case. But the word for muffin would perhaps be best.

The other product is called "Royce Ost Kaka", which should be "Royce Ostkaka". There is something called ostkaka in Sweden, which is a kind of cheese cake ("ost" means cheese, "kaka" means cake). Swedish "ostkaka" is more like a soft pudding, though. These Royce sweets are very hard cookies, so they are very very far from being "ostkaka", and I have never seen anything similar in Sweden.

Every year I take a look at the Sweden Fair it is more or less the same. They use Swedish words, usually misspell them. When they use Swedish words that are used for sweets that we have in Sweden, what they make is always something different. Sometimes it looks similar, but has a completely different texture and taste. Often it is just completely different.

The things are usually tasty and good, and if you were to come up with a reasonable name in Swedish for a sweet like that, the words they use are often reasonable candidates. If you ignore the fact that they are used for a completely different thing.

Maybe I should send them a letter offering to at least check the grammar and spelling of the product names in the future. But then again, I imagine almost everyone who buys these products have zero knowledge of Swedish and cares very little if the spelling is correct or not.


  1. Replies
    1. Jag doktorerade på att hitta och hjälpa till med att rätta språkfel (eller snarare på att skapa automatiska algoritmer som kan göra det), så det är väl en yrkesskada.