Language tips and tools
On this page, you will find links to tools such as the SLU style guide, glossaries and other resources. If you have any suggestions for other resources you think should be added, please send your suggestions to the language coordinator.
Style guide and other writing tools
According to the Swedish Language Act from 2009, the language of the public sector is to be "cultivated, simple and comprehensible".
Make sure your writing is simple and comprehensible by adapting it to your intended readers and applying the principles of plain language. For cultivated language, follow the stylistic rules and recommendations in the SLU style guide and other guidelines.
A consistent style is important. It facilitates communication and ensures that we speak with "one voice" when we write. Just like we have a visual identity, described in the brand manual, that specifies which colours and fonts to use, we have a style guide that describes what choices to make when it comes to style.
- EASE Guidelines for Authors and Translators of Scientific Articles to Be Published in English, guidelines on everything from ambiguity to simplicity from the European Association of Science Editors.
- Writing science in plain English, 30-minute video on 12 plain language rules for science writers. From Conservation Evidence at the University of Cambridge.
- Elements of Style by William Strunk, a classic reference book for writers.
When you calculate the readability index of a text, you estimate how difficult it is to read. You do this by measuring attributes such as word length, sentence length and syllable count to determine its complexity.
A readability index is a blunt instrument as it does not tell you if the content is what the reader needs, if the layout is helpful etc. However, a poor score indicates that the content has problems.
There are several indexes using slightly different formulas. If you want to test your text, this page calculates the readability index of your text using six different formulas.
Glossaries and term banks
The SLU glossary (Excel) contains names of programmes and degrees, research subjects according to the Statistics Sweden classification, administration/HR-related terms and most of the entries from the dictionary compiled by the Swedish Council for Higher Education.
The glossary is intended to be used from Swedish into English, but it is, of course, possible to search from English to Swedish as well. The glossary is however based on the Swedish concepts, and any comments are in Swedish only.
Titles at SLU
The Division of Human Resources is responsible for maintaining the list of titles for SLU staff. If you need the translation of a title, you can use the pdf version of the list.
Names of departments/divisions at SLU
The easiest way to find out the name of a department or division is to use 'Search employee' on the staff web. Write the Swedish or English name in the Department/division/unit field and when the search result is displayed, switch languages.
Dictionary of the Swedish Council for Higher Education
The Swedish-English dictionary of the Swedish Council for Higher Education covers several concepts in higher education. Unless the SLU glossary has a different translation, use the translations proposed in this dictionary. Most entries from the dictionary are also included in the SLU glossary.
The Swedish national term bank Rikstermbanken contains mainly Swedish terms but also covers other languages such as English, French, German and Finnish.
The terminology of the EU institutions
The EU institutions' term bank Iate (Interactive Terminology for Europe) is free and covers EU policies in most fields and several EU languages.
Glossary of the Swedish Riksdag
This glossary contains common terms related to the Swedish parliament translated into English, German and French.
Joint Group for Swedish Life Sciences Terminology
The Joint Group for Swedish Life Sciences Terminology (Svenska biotermgruppen, information in Swedish only) is a network set up to coordinate Swedish terminology within life sciences such as biotechnology, molecular biology and genetics. The network consists of scientists, journalists and terminologists. Their concept definitions and term recommendations are available on their website.
Utrikes namnbok contains translations into English, Finnish, French, German, Russian and Spanish of the names of Swedish government agencies and organisations as well as translations of Swedish titles used in public administration. The main body of the text is in Swedish, but the multilingual list can be used without any knowledge of Swedish.
Interested in learning Swedish? The Swedish Institute hosts a free, online course for beginners, corresponding to CEFR level A1-A2.
SLU's Division of Human Resources also organises Swedish courses for SLU staff, at two levels (beginners and those with some knowledge of Swedish).
- Language Act (Swedish Code of Statutes no 2009:600)
- SLU language policy
- SLU language guidelines