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Style guidelines and principles

This document provides generic style guidelines for Sailfish OS. The target audience for this documentation is everyone translating Sailfish OS-related material. The goal is to create contemporary translations that provide a high-quality user experience.

Sailfish OS audience and target group for the translations is young, active users accustomed to social media and therefore its language.

Basics of good writing style

  • Write in a personal style, engaging and involving the user.
  • Use active style and present tense. Use imperatives and talk to the user.
  • Make sure the text is consistent and clear and correct in grammar and spelling.
  • Write in short sentences.
  • Use a positive tone, avoid negative expressions.
  • Avoid ambiguity. Make sure that pronouns point clearly to the relevant nouns, and avoid long strings of modifiers or nouns.

Remember we are sailing on a jolly boat. Have fun! Play with the language. Be innovative and guide the readers onto a journey. Do not attempt to use humor, but use fresh and fun tone where it naturally fits. Remember that the most important part is delivering a clear message.

Note that in technical writing, descriptions and instructions should not include text that is written from a marketing point of view.

Language and culture

Because our communication is targeted to international use and part of it will be translated, try to keep the language culturally unambiguous, be careful of religious references, and avoid using idiomatic expressions or slang. The key aspects are clarity and simplicity. Consider these targets when adapting the jolly tone to the texts. In software UI translations: Respect the source text, but do not create word for word translations. Take the context into account when translating.



When possible, leave out articles.

For example in short strings with stand-alone terms: Jolla-konto

Please however use them if a similar string/sentence in regular Swedish would use an article: Kunde inte logga in på kontot


When choosing objects in menus or lists, use the following prepositions in Swedish:

  • Menu objects are på en meny:
    • Correct: Välj Spara som på Arkiv-menyn.
    • Incorrect: Välj Spara som från Arkiv-menyn.
    • Incorrect: Välj Spara som i Arkiv-menyn.
  • For lists, use the form lista över, not lista på or lista med:
    • Correct: I fönstret visas en lista över alternativ.
    • Incorrect: I fönstret visas en lista på alternativ.
    • Incorrect: I fönstret visas en lista med alternativ.
  • Logging into an account, server, site or app:
    • Correct: Logga in på kontot/servern/webbplatsen.
    • Correct: Logga in i en app.
    • Incorrect: Logga in till kontot/servern/webbplatsen.
    • Incorrect: Logga in på en app.
    • Incorrect: Logga in till en app.


Please try to be informal if that feels natural in your language. Avoid mentioning pronouns.

Keep addressing consistent: e.g. if a paragraph was started using the second person, retain it throughout all its sentences (as opposed to switching to third person or neutral mood).


Use gender-neutral or all-inclusive terms to refer to human beings, rather than terms that include man, woman, and similar masculine and feminine terms.

For example:

  • Correct: …gör du så här:
  • Incorrect: …gör man så här:


Do not use colloquialisms in the form of talspråk, e.g. mej, dej, nåt, nånting, sånt. Also, do not use slang, as it might not be generally understood.

When colloquialisms or idiomatic expressions are used in the source text, do not translate them literally. Use the equivalent Swedish expression. Example:

  • English: Kill two birds with one stone
  • Correct: Slå två flugor i en smäll
  • Incorrect: Döda två fåglar med en sten


Use the present tense. E.g.:

  • Correct: Media player väljer låtar
  • Incorrect: Media player kommer att välja låtar

Descriptive past tense forms in English

Very often, English source texts will use what looks like the past tense in descriptive text. Example: When the form is submitted (meaning “when you submit the form”, not “when you have submitted the form”) or When the dialog is closed (meaning “when you close the dialog box”, not “when you have closed the dialog box” or “when the dialog box has been closed”).

This is not an indication of an action in the past, but rather a description of an action that is carried out. The correct translation of this in Swedish is not using the past tense, but rather the present tense:

  • Correct: När formuläret skickas or När du skickar formuläret.
  • Incorrect: När formuläret har skickats or När formuläret är skickad.
  • Correct: När dialogrutan stängs or När du stänger dialogrutan.
  • Incorrect: När dialogrutan har stängts or När dialogrutan är stängd.


Whenever possible, use the active voice. Keep the message clear and the sentences short.

For example:

  • Correct: Ange kontoinställningar i
  • Incorrect: Kontoinställningar anges i


Use the imperative form.

For example:

  • Correct: Gå till Inställningar
  • Incorrect: Användaren går till Inställningar

Usage of “Please” and other forms of politeness

When translating strings that use “Please”, etc. you should omit these in Swedish. Vänligen and similar phrasings are to be avoided.

  • Correct: Data hämtas. Vänta.
  • Incorrect: Data hämtas. Vänligen vänta.
  • Correct: Ange dina inloggningsuppgifter.
  • Incorrect: Vänligen ange dina inloggningsuppgifter.


Capitalise application names and company names.

In the UI, start the first word with a capital letter.

Respect capitalisation rules of the language in question.

  • Correct: Egenskaper för användare
  • Incorrect: Egenskaper för Användare

Respect Swedish capitalization rules. We don’t use initial capitals for nouns unless they refer to proper names or UI elements.


The following table lists some examples of preferred phrasings to make the tone “friendlier”.

Classic word/phrasingPreferred word/phrasing
såväl … somockså, både … och
ha möjlighetkan
X gör det möjligt att …Med X kan du …
dock, emellertid'’men ‘‘(example: Det går inte att logga in på kontot. Du kan emellertid försöka igen senare. vs. Det går inte att logga in på kontot, men du kan försöka igen senare.)
såsom, exempelvistill exempel, som (NOTE: never combine these to form the phrasing ”som till exempel” or ”som exempelvis”)
skicka e-postskicka e-post/e-posta
Mer information om hur du gör detta finns på…Få reda på hur du gör det här på …
tillhandahållage, förse med
i enlighet medenligt, utifrån, baserat på

User Interface menu items are named using verbs.

Empty states in the UI

User Interface empty states are typically written in the 2-sentence form, using verbs and active tone and, where possible, guiding the user towards the next possible steps to take. Keep sentences short and content informative. Where possible, guide user to reflect the good sides of an application or service (like referring to friends instead of contacts in the People app). For example:
(tell the situation, what items are missing) (point user to next actions)
No contacts yet. Pull down to add your friends.

App covers (that are shown in the Home) for empty states aim to be short informative messages. Length is typically two words.


End punctuation

In UI strings, do not use a full stop at the end of a sentence if there’s only one sentence. If there are two or more sentences, use full stops normally.

If the segment ends with the colon or ellipsis, the translation should follow the source.


In technical writing, use common abbreviations. Do not use Latin abbreviations.

In the UI, use common abbreviations, including Latin abbreviations. Make sure text clarity does not suffer. If in doubt, do not use an abbreviation.

Do not use a full stop in or after acronyms or initialisms, e.g.:

  • Correct: WLAN
  • Incorrect: W.L.A.N.

Do not use a full stop with unit (measurement) symbols, e.g.:

  • Correct: kg
  • Incorrect: kg.

Use a full stop with Latin abbreviations, e.g.:

  • Correct: e.g., ca., etc.
  • Incorrect: eg, ca, etc


Hyphenate when combing UI terms or acronyms with running text:

  • Correct: Arkiv-menyn, ISO-certifiering
  • Incorrect: Arkivmenyn/Arkiv menyn, ISOcertifiering/ISO certifiering


Do not create plurals with parentheses. Consult translation tool user guide for handling the plurals.

  • Correct: bilder or kartor
  • Wrong: bild(er) or karta(-or)


Use a comma to separate elements in a series, but not the last two elements.

  • Correct: Du kan skapa nya, ändra eller ta bort objekt.
  • Incorrect: Du kan skapa nya, ändra, eller ta bort objekt.


Avoid using semi-colons in Swedish. Try to break the text up into smaller, individual sentences instead.

Quotation marks

Respect language’s quotation rules. A comprehensive list of marks can be found here:


In technical writing, write lists with bullets.

In the UI, write lists without bullets or colons.


In technical writing, create structured, consistent and accurate headings. Consider verb structures in headings.

Do not start a heading with an article.

  • Correct: Starta en app
  • Incorrect: Att starta en app


In technical writing, when describing procedures, make sure to describe the steps clearly with only one task per step. Describe the expected results of those steps.

Example: På fliken Inställningar, gå till området Avancerat och klicka på knappen Ändra. Då öppnas dialogrutan Avancerade inställningar.

Personification of the software

In Swedish, neither the phone nor any software/app will have what can be interpreted as a life of its own. Therefore, it will not take any own initiatives. For example:

  • UK phrasing: The screen shows a list of users
  • Correct: På skärmen visas en lista över användare
  • Incorrect: Skärmen visar en lista över användare
  • UK phrasing: The cell phone restarts
  • Correct: Mobilen startas om automatiskt
  • Incorrect: Mobilen startar om automatiskt


Do not use the “&” symbol in Swedish, please write “och” instead.



Write numbers as digits, including numbers below 10.

For example:

  • Correct: 1 message received
  • Incorrect: One message received

Use a comma as a decimal separator and non-breaking space as thousands separator: 15,7 and 10 000 kr


Use numerals for measurements. Use a space between the numeral and the unit, except with the degree symbol: 4 kg, 235 mm, 37,5 °C, 87 %, 90°

Fictitious content

Ensure that any fictitious names used in the translation are approved. In most cases the names from the source text can be left as is as they are often international names. Do not translate company names, example domain names, e-mail and web addresses


Sailfish OS has a separate Terminology project to maintain consistency. Use that approved terminology when available.

Company names

Do not translate company names unless there is an official, translated name available.

Product names and trademarks

Do not translate product names or trademarks.

Warnings, cautions, and notes are legal texts that need to be confirmed with legal department. In case of legal texts, follow the instructions carefully and ask for more information if needed.


When finalising translations for the UI, check the following:

  • Everything has been translated to your best knowledge.
  • Spell check is done.
  • Check consistency with the other translations done for the language.
  • Ensure correct Sailfish OS terminology is used. If needed, propose new term entries.
  • Confirm legal texts are consistent with the source.
  • Company and product names, trademarks, symbols, and measurements have not been hyphenated.
  • Ensure regional formats are retained, such as date, time, numeric and quotation literals.

When finalising texts for the technical writing, check these points as well:

  • Titles and headings are structured and accurate.
  • Language is clear and consistent.
  • Sentences vary in length and have a clear form.