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On Icelandic and the meaning of nuance

So, the dudes from WikiLeaks are in town to stake out the general area. They were interviewed on Silfur Egils this past weekend and, from what I could gather, they have something fairly dramatic up their sleeves – some juicy revelation involving SMS messages and the manager of one of Iceland’s failed banks. Stay tuned for that one, folks!

However, that’s not the main thrust of this post … rather I’d like to take up a slight, er, disagreement that took place in the comments to this post a few days ago. In those comments I remarked how I considered it quite impossible for anyone to fully understand what went on down in Iceland in relation to the meltdown unless they spoke Icelandic. A reader took offense and claimed that I had to be wearing rose coloured glasses if I really believed “that the rest of us are less erudite than yourself”.

I confess I was rather taken aback by the comment – simply because I thought my point was rather self-evident. How can anyone claim to get a full picture of the meltdown without speaking the Icelandic language? This has nothing to do with anyone being more or less erudite than anyone else. It’s simply common sense. What about all those documents that are written in Icelandic? All those emails sent back and forth in Icelandic? All those, um, secret SMS messages sent between people in Icelandic?

I bring this up here because, during the course of the interview, the two guys from WikiLeaks spoke about how they’re working with translators here in Iceland in order to get the full picture. The same issue was discussed last spring when I was in Norway, when I was speaking with a bunch of investigative reporters who were really keen to get together a team to come to Iceland to delve into the bank collapse and to “follow the money”. The main issue was the language barrier and how much it would cost to translate all those documents. I’m sure Eva Joly and her people have a similar story to tell.

Of course the issue of direct translations, an approximate conveying of a term, is just one issue. Another is that of the cultural and social implications behind the words, those subtle nuances of meaning that just don’t translate in a word or two. A particular word may have layers of meaning for an Icelander that a person outside of Iceland would not be able to grasp. In the aforementioned comments, I asked if the offended reader could give me a translation of three words: útrásarvíkingur, góðæri and kreppa. Indeed he could! He provided those terms that are generally used to convey the meaning of those three. And yet – they don’t convey the full meaning, those layers of understanding that an Icelander would have over a non-Icelander.

Case in point. The commenter translated kreppa as “crisis” or “crash”. However, the Icelandic word for “crisis” is actually neyðarástand. The word for “crash” is hrun [or árekstur, in the case of, say, a car crash]. Neither of those adequately convey the meaning of kreppa.

My response was that each of those three words needed about two paragraphs of explanation to get the full meaning across, which I concede may have been a bit extreme. However, none of them can be translated with just one word. A few of you asked, in subsequent comments, what the actual meaning of those words was. So here I’ll try to convey those meanings to the best of my ability.

ÚTRÁSARVÍKINGUR. This term is generally used to describe the Icelandic moguls who went on a buying spree abroad and who would eventually bring this country to the edge of bankruptcy. However, the term is made up of two words spliced together: útrás and víkingur. The latter term is self-explanatory – means Viking. The former does not have an equivalent word in English. It is the opposite of the word innrás, meaning “invasion”, which of course is what the Vikings of old were wont to do. However, útrásarvíkingar presumes that those same Vikings are now residing in Iceland and are going on raids abroad – so instead of “invading” a country, they are “outvading”. Útrás effectively means “outvasion”. So útrásarvíkingar means “outvasion Vikings” — which would not make much sense in direct translation, and also misses the layers of history and culture that it denotes for someone here in Iceland. Moreover, this term is now used more generally for anyone who is doing business outside of Iceland – just about anyone these days can be in útrás.

GÓÐÆRI. This is a term generally used in Iceland to talk about the years of prosperity that preceded the bank collapse, or years of prosperity in general. It’s a word I encounter frequently in my translations, and which I always trip over a little bit because that one word speaks volumes to those people who live here, but maybe not so much for others. It is actually a very old Icelandic word meaning “good year” and was used to describe those years that were bountiful, where the ocean yielded lots of fish, or the sun shone a lot so that plenty of hay could be dried, or when people had an abundance of food. Saying “the years of prosperity preceding the bank collapse” doesn’t fully convey the layers of meaning or positive feelings that an Icelander would attach to the term on a conscious or subconscious level.

KREPPA. Which brings us to this oh-so frequently used term used to describe the current economic crisis here in Iceland. Again, there are nuances of meaning that are missed when we talk about kreppa as “crisis” or “collapse”. Granted, the word is used to describe economic depression, but it also means two other things: to clench and to tighten, as in the idiom þar sem skórinn kreppir að literally meaning “where the shoe pinches”. So in addition to the economic implications, it also carries very heavy connotations of suffering and of forging through that suffering with fists clenched and everything tightened. Kreppa. It’s a harsh word, with little mercy, which is probably how our forbears here in Iceland experienced having to get through those endless months and years of hardship in the Iceland of old.

And so, I rest my arguments about the nuance of language and culture, and turn my attention to:

THE WEATHER
It is COLD out there right now, phwoar!!! We have our lowest temps to date this winter … the thermometer at the pool a little earlier showed -6°C [16F] which is precisely what Yahoo weather says it is right now. On top of that it is WINDY, making for some serious windkill. The sun came up late this morning at 10.44 am, and set at 3.47 this afternoon.

Comments

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  • Sigvaldi Eggertsson December 1, 2009, 6:49 pm

    The temperature went down to -15°C approaching Hvassahraun, I am sure the ¨windkill¨was, if not intentional, then absolutely correct.

  • BRADSTREET December 1, 2009, 8:21 pm

    I quite understand what you mean. Even a simple word like ‘Nice’ can have an enormous number of meanings in English. I have heard it used as a term of withering contempt, but I suspect that someone who had learnt English as a second language, even if they learnt it very well, might not pick up on the meaning.

  • Chris December 1, 2009, 8:36 pm

    Thanks for the explanation. Although I understand some of the background, its always interesting to read about it.

  • Karen * December 1, 2009, 8:47 pm

    And you aren’t even getting into the layers and layers of arguements amongst historians as to the meaning and origin of the word “Viking” either…. oy.

  • Marc December 1, 2009, 10:06 pm

    Fascinating post Alda. Perhaps for us, non-icelanders, could you elaborate a bit more on the term ‘Viking’? Where I’m from, the word signifies the northerners that came to pillage our lands and still carries the fear the people must have felt back then. On the other hand, my birthplace was founded by the Vikings, but even that story is told as if these people are completely unrelated to us and somehow just vanished into thin air sometime. What are Vikings to Icelanders?

  • Nick December 1, 2009, 11:54 pm

    In the rest of world its called “Corruption”

  • Peter Reeves December 2, 2009, 1:14 am

    Maybe the converse is true. Foreigners with some perspective understand more of the principles, despite the language barrier.

    If it was the US or UK people wouldnt be shopping at outlets where the owners have so obviously robbed them in so many ways.

    Many Icelanders are still in denial and display a narrow mindedness that both clouds and confines their understanding.

  • Ása December 2, 2009, 1:25 am

    Interesting post and so true. I like to use the term ‘Boomtown Years’ when refering to ‘góðærið’ in conversation but would not use it in formal text. The issue of language is a complicated one but it’s always fascinating.

  • kevin o'connor waterford Ireland December 2, 2009, 5:02 am

    Lets face it Alda you have an inscrutable language and even if I moved to Iceland and lived there for 1000 years, I would after much study be just about be able to order a cup of coffee in Icelandic, so google translate is about as good as it gets for me. I wonder what your relationship with Norwegian,Swedish and Danish is, can they understand Icelandic or would they need sub-titles ?. That being the case
    Guten Morgern Frau Sigmundsdottir 🙂

  • D_Boone December 2, 2009, 6:15 am

    I read the original post and comments that preceded this one. I agree with Alda’s original proposal.

    “In those comments I remarked how I considered it quite impossible for anyone to fully understand what went on down in Iceland in relation to the meltdown unless they spoke Icelandic.”

    Its hard enough to fully understand another country’s events when they speak the same language based on their news reports. When you add to that another (rather difficult) language coupled with a history of rather selective translation and reporting of events by the mainstream media in Iceland the situation is fraught. I hesitate to use the word censorship.

    Hence the popularity of the various Icelandic blogs written in English. You only get the opportunity to make an informed summation when you can access several contrasting views of an event.

    BTW Melvin is such an interesting English word.

  • AKJ December 2, 2009, 7:34 am

    One can always argue that special knowledge / experience gives one an advantage. Icelandic helps in this case in understanding the impact of the kreppa on the local population. As to the substantive incompetence and nepotisitic fraud that occured….well Icelandic may not be necessary.

    A lot of the important evidence around the banks is actually in english, or is figures based. The money trail is not in Icelandic (BACS payments / customer details / bank entries being in english.

    May be a subtle point, but the the ability to undertsand the money flows is not limited by a lack of understanding of icelandic.

  • Simon Brooke December 2, 2009, 9:34 am

    So… exactly. Which is partly why I want to learn to speak Icelandic (the other big part is to be able to read old Snorre Sturlasson in his native language – I was brought up on the Heimskringla, but in English translation). So – anyone around Glasgow who would like to speak Icelandic to a Scot, one night a week?

  • Joerg December 2, 2009, 9:38 am

    Even with a reasonable knowledge of a foreign language it is difficult to get a grasp of all connotations and historical references attached to the words. There doesn’t seem to be much difference between Icelandic and other languages, except, perhaps, that Icelandic is spoken by so few people, which provides for all native speakers having a similar understanding of those nuances.

    I’m not so sure, that speaking Icelandic is an indispensable prerequisite for understanding, what went wrong in Iceland – and why. Surely, on a technical level it is necessary to get the second meanings of the words in all those emails, SMS messages etc. in order to follow the downward path thoroughly and to understand exactly who did what wrong. But the emails and SMS messages are based on attitude and mindset of the people involved. For a deeper understanding of this a profound knowledge of the cultural and historical background seems to be more essential than language skills.

  • alda December 2, 2009, 10:34 am

    Thanks, everyone.

    Marc – I think to most Icelanders, Vikings are the tribe that settled Iceland – that came primarily from Norway. But then I may have a rather limited view, having not grown up in this country. Input from other Icelanders welcome!

    Peter Reeves – If it was the US or UK people wouldnt be shopping at outlets where the owners have so obviously robbed them in so many ways. — which outlets are you referring to? The problem with Iceland, as I’m sure you know, is that there aren’t generally that many outlets to choose from, and certain individuals hold huge market shares in specific areas of retail — if that’s what you mean.

    Kevin – aber guten Morgen ist Deutsch! 🙂

    Joerg – I was primarily referring to the technical level in that regard. In my view it’s pretty indispensable.

  • James December 2, 2009, 12:27 pm

    An interesting post. I think the English opposite of innrás is probably withdrawl, which makes explaining útrás in English using opposites tricky for I doubt the útrásarvíkingar are “withdrawing Vikings” 😉

    “the ability to undertsand the money flows is not limited by a lack of understanding of icelandic”

    AKJ – I suspect that basic information (account names, amounts, etc) is just the beginning. 95% of the story is likely to be much more subtle and concern the reasons behind those money flows, eg does a particular funds transfer correspond to a legitimate payment for goods/services or an unlawful uncollateralised loan between close companies.

  • Mike Kissane December 2, 2009, 1:26 pm

    A quick comment on the origin of the word Vikings: a vík (say ‘veek’) is a narrow inlet, or cove where Norsemen of old hid, waiting in their fast ships to raid (er, make quick trade visits before the outlets/stock exchanges closed).
    In Icelandic, the suffix ‘lings’ (ala ‘homeling’ in English) or the suffix ‘ings’, generally means people of the prefix: e.g. ‘Hafnfirðingur’ is somebody who lives in Hafnarfjörður, but on the other hand, one born there is a Gaflari (long story), which harkens back to implied nuances . The difference between ‘Hafnarfjörður’ and ‘Hafnarfirði’ is a delightful grammatical mystery that taunts us who haven’t learned Icelandic from the cradle.

  • Sigvaldi Eggertsson December 2, 2009, 2:05 pm

    Alda, Vikings can be so many things (people from the Vikin area in Norway, someone who went Viking etc.) that many scholars no longer use the term. I think Icelanders themselves generally have a vague understanding of the history of the period in question so term like Vikings do not have any exact meaning.
    To me there was always the comical part included, the Viking with the horned helmet. (an adornment that the historical Vikings never wore)
    Joerg, can we grasp the cultural and historical background without some knowledge of the language?
    Kevin, people from the Scandinavian countries have the same problems with Icelandic as you do.

  • Max December 2, 2009, 2:13 pm

    Well what is interesting is the perception of Vikings within and outside of Iceland. I’m in my second year of a degree in Icelandic Studies at UCL and have just started learning about the perception of Vikings around the world.

    It seems in most of the Western world outside of Scandinavia, the Vikings were seen as “raping pillagers” who raided countless towns across Britain, Northern Europe and Russia. I bet you the same bunch of people who believe that’s all there is to the Vikings also believe they wore horned helmets.

    From what I understand, the Vikings are seen as somewhat more heroic in Iceland, at least some of the characters from the sagas, who could be turned into cartoon characters and role models for kids. I guess the point is that the Vikings are seen in a much more positive light, as pioneers rather than pillagers. This is why útrásvíkingur was used as a positive term by the bankers themselves.

  • James December 2, 2009, 3:45 pm

    After reading Max’s comment, I checked University College London’s web site. Not only do they have BA Icelandic, but they also have BA Viking Studies! I wonder if students have to wear horned helmets during examinations.
    http://www.ucl.ac.uk/scandinavian-studies/undergrad/viking.htm

  • Paul H December 2, 2009, 3:47 pm

    I enjoyed reading this post.

    It’s great to be given a glimpse into the meaning of these three words, even if we cannot fully grasp them as if we were Icelandic from birth. I agree that it is not possible to fully understand what has happened without being Icelandic, it’s only possible to get some understanding.

    I have a positive view towards Vikings, having rejected the stereotypical take on them. I like to think I have some Viking blood in me, having come from central England (where Vikings have historically traveled to). The missus has an English translation of the Sagas. I haven’t gotten around to reading it as yet. I bet it would be more of an experience to read it in the original language.

    My poor old brain is being stretched of late. I am trying to learn some Icelandic, enough to get by at least. And I am learning how to code for the iPhone too. I am banking on being able to ‘teach an old dog new tricks’, literally.

    I am pining for the fjords again, but it won’t be too long before we return.

    Thanks for giving us some insight!

  • sterna December 2, 2009, 4:31 pm

    Well put, Alda. I’m a non-native speaker and sometime resident of Iceland, and understanding the modern and earlier forms of the language is part of my professional life. It’s with that background that I couldn’t agree with you more on needing to understand Icelandic to have the full sense of what certain words mean and to know what’s going on there “heima.”

    I’ve found the coverage of the kreppa in the English-language press and blogs different from that in the Icelandic (not to mention the other Scandinavian languages). I always get the sense that this is due, in part, to many Icelandic translators and interpreters presenting matters differently to outsiders than insiders.

    Good job with the blog, by the way. Áfram!

  • Fred December 2, 2009, 4:42 pm

    Simon,

    There are foreign language conversation groups on Skype, so you wouldn’t necessarily have to find someone local to you.

  • hildigunnur December 2, 2009, 6:03 pm

    my favourite non-translateable word in Icelandic is “nenna”. “Ég nenni ekki að gera eitthvað” – vaguely translates into “I can’t be bothered to do something”. Doesn’t get the connotations at all, it doesn’t mean we don’t think the something worthy of doing, just well are too lazy – which doesn’t really get the meaning across either. The Danes have a somewhat similar word – “gide”, the Swedish “jag orkar inte” has totally different underlying meaning. It all boils down to the nations temperature, sort of.

  • Grif December 2, 2009, 6:53 pm

    [quote]I am pining for the fjords again[/quote]
    Pining for the fjords?! What kind of talk is that?

    Sorry, made me think of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oj8RIEQH7zA at about 1:58

  • alda December 2, 2009, 7:57 pm

    @Hildigunnur – what about the classic “þetta reddast”. Impossible to translate as well. 🙂

    But I totally agree with you about “nenna”. Come to think of it, I wonder if there is a better word to capture the essence of being Icelandic – that wonderful impertinence/impatience/impulsiveness and inability to suffer fools: “ég nennesekki!”

  • BRADSTREET December 2, 2009, 9:07 pm

    We’re in danger of drifting completely off-topic, but I have to stick my oar in and say that, overall, the image of the Vikings in the movies has nearly always been positive. THE VIKINGS, THE LONGSHIPS, THE THIRTEENTH WARRIOR, THE NORSEMEN…They’re nearly always shown as raucous but amiable toughguys; not the sort of people that you’d invite to the vicarage tea-party, but definitely the fellas who you’d want helping you in a fight. In the comic books that I read as a kid, Don Lawrence’s famous strip KARL THE VIKING portrayed them as all-round good guys. We just seem to love Vikings!

  • Max December 2, 2009, 10:48 pm

    @James: It’s fantastic, we’re starting a Faroese course next year too!

  • Paul H December 2, 2009, 11:15 pm

    @Grif 😀
    As you know, I meant literally, not figuratively (à la Python).
    I have not ‘ceased to be’, ‘expired’, nor ‘gone to see my maker’.
    Thanks for the chuckles, mate.

  • jpeeps December 2, 2009, 11:22 pm

    Has “nenna” got anything to do with “can’t be arsed” – which carries an element of impertinence. If so, 21st century UK and Iceland have more in common than you might imagine!

  • alda December 2, 2009, 11:34 pm

    jpeeps – it’s close, but not quite. However, I am of the opinion that Icelanders and UK residents are similar in many ways. We totally get each other’s humour, for example.

  • hildigunnur December 2, 2009, 11:59 pm

    haha, yes: Þetta reddast – nothing like it!

  • Joerg December 3, 2009, 7:52 am

    Sigvaldi: “Joerg, can we grasp the cultural and historical background without some knowledge of the language?”

    I would say that language is obviously part of the cultural background but knowing all of its nuances is not an indispensable prerequisite for getting a grasp of it, unlike the case Alda is referring to, where it is about looking into documents and all matters surrounding the kreppa in depth.

  • Grif December 3, 2009, 10:58 am

    As for the translation of “nenna”, what about “meh”?

    Not sure there isn’t any difference in nuance though.

  • Rachel Down Under December 3, 2009, 1:19 pm

    I think the antidote for nenna might be a round tuit – as in ‘I’ll clean the house when I get a round tuit’.

    As for kreppa, without knowing what it meant it always sounded like a perfect term for a really crappy situation.

  • Bjarni December 3, 2009, 8:55 pm

    What we outsiders(non-residents)miss in the language , is an interesting thought.The business world often uses english,for cross border transactions…Could it be that the Icelanders involved in
    kreppa , only learned the upside of usa/uk banking and failed to see
    the social costs to usa/uk…Welcome to the economic enslavement ,
    it heart-breaking that Iceland sold its soul for a few pieces of silver.
    If there is a silver-lining ,it would be an end to building those tall Eastern Europe modeled housing monsters…enough said…PEACE

  • Peter Reeves December 4, 2009, 10:10 am

    There are some fundamental points in this mess that needs no nuance!
    A few Icelanders have stolen/salted away billions, and still are.
    The government has wasted a year on IceSave, which is a tiny part.
    The citizens are being left with all the debris that is not written off.
    David now edits MBL and JAJ via his wife own Frettabladid.
    Icelanders are being fed distracting propaganda each day.
    (And yes, it is possible to shop at Kronan or Kostur in Reykjavik.)

  • alda December 4, 2009, 10:34 am

    I have no special affiliation for Jón Ásgeir and his ilk – none whatsoever. However, I have found Bónus to offer the best experience in terms of shopping for groceries in this country. Krónan and Nóatún both suck in my opinion, as the several posts I have written on this site about shopping there attest to (do a search if you want). Bad quality products, way overpriced, cannot be consistent in terms of shelf pricing and checkout pricing, rude or incompetent service … and I suspect at the end of the day their owners are just as unscrupulous as the rest of them. At least they are in terms of what I can feel on my own skin – the countless times I’ve returned home with a purchase from Krónan or Nóatún and discovered that I’ve been ripped off at the checkout.

    As for Kostur, it would mean a 40 minute drive and I really don’t have enough hatred for Jón Ásgeir or his father to subject myself to that on a weekly basis. Besides, Jón Gerald Sullenberger is no angel, either, as demonstrated by his involvement in the Baugur Affair.

    In any case, if we Icelanders were going to boycott the business of every shark or shenanigan in this country we would do little else with our time. Mine is simply too precious for that.

    ps – name me a country that isn’t being fed distracting propaganda on a daily basis.

  • Peter Reeves December 4, 2009, 11:46 am

    We all know there is corruption everywhere, but the mindset to blame everyone else, lack of political unity, suppressed information, and crooked media is extreme in Iceland. Today the other Scandinavian countries expressed convern about the dire media situation in Iceland, and no doubt Icelanders will defend it.

    People in US – Madoff etc – have been locked up, and MPs are going to be prosecuted for fraud in the UK, whilst some people in Iceland are still pondering whether the banks and businessmen broke any laws? Forget supermarkets, Iceland is more like Nigeria!

  • alda December 4, 2009, 12:00 pm

    Sorry Peter, I disagree with you and think you are taking a very extreme view of the media situation in Iceland.

    Of course no one is protesting the report from the journalists’ unions in the other Nordic countries – on the contrary there is a widespread feeling of relief and even elation at the support they are showing us, in adding their voice to what we already know. In fact I have a blog post coming up about this very issue.

    Every Icelander I know reads both Morgunblaðið (if anyone still does read it) and Fréttablaðið with their filters on high alert. We truly are not that deluded here. If you choose to have that opinion of Icelanders you’re welcome to it. But my view and experience is completely different.

    That said, the first part of your comment is true. There is a lot here that is not being done and said. But we are not deluded about it – on the contrary.

  • Peter Reeves December 4, 2009, 12:40 pm

    Good response, and well expressed; we just disagree on the level of delusion and denial! There is a hard core of people with a reality grip, none of which constitute the rising poll numbers for Independence Party. All is not yet lost, as Eva Joly and team are beavering away.
    P.S. Ironically, DV is bearing the standard for investigative journalism, as many refuse to read the other ‘mouthpieces’.
    Its a shameful period, and dignity must be restored somehow!

  • Bjarni December 4, 2009, 7:10 pm

    Playing devils advocate,here is a theory…the Icelandic utrasarvikingur elite,studied abroad,came home with a limited version (language/nuance),though their hauteur nature prevented them from realizing this. ( a clue at the time,shone bright-G.W.Bush holds a MBA).Trump uses bankruptcy as part of a business model(he currently is trying to wipe away 1.2 billion to unsecured bond holders).While the utrasarvikingur ,enjoyed Sex,Drugs,Rock & Roll , their counterparts engaged lawyers and bankers,for the them it was “game on”,poker is their game. These wall street men,have been known to play a simple poker game with a million dollar buy-in(nuance missed by the utrasarvikingur)…Bottom line,the utrasarvikingur used 1990’s business models,while the counterparts had moved on,with a various financial instruments..The Vikings got outplayed ,plain and simple.And as here ,now All must pay for the fun of a few.PEACE

  • Bjarni December 4, 2009, 10:38 pm

    One other thought for those who like to speculate.Were Microsoft’s actions, by stepping in last year and setting a base line exchange rate for their transactions,the most important step taken to prevent a complete melt-down of the financial structure of Iceland.I imagine Bill Gates will get alot of X-MAS cards from grateful Icelanders…
    Peace

  • Grif December 5, 2009, 1:29 am

    Bjarni,

    Clearly I must have missed something here (about the Micro$oft deal). Could you please direct me to the news fact you are referring to or clarify what you are referring to?

    Thanks a lot.

    Grif

  • D_Boone December 5, 2009, 4:43 am

    Okay the latest “craic”from Frank McNally is that the Icelandic “nicked” the word Kreppa from the Irish gaelic word crapadh (silent d) which means shrinkage and yes it has also been transliterated and shortened to a four letter word we all know and love. This also has a similar meaning as in “Iceland is in the cr**”.

    Blame Icelandic vikings borrowing Irish lasses 1000 years ago, as you know the hand that rocks the cradle rules the wor[l]d. 🙂

    Read all about it at http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/1205/1224260144643.html

  • bjarni December 6, 2009, 9:44 am

    http://www.icelandreview.com/icelandreview/search/news/Default.asp?ew_0_a_id=315687
    Microsoft Fixes Currency of Icelandic Króna

    Microsoft Iceland has reached an agreement with the headquarters of Microsoft that all trade between Icelandic companies and consumers with Microsoft be fixed with the exchange rate of EUR 1 being estimated as worth ISK 120.

    According to the Central Bank of Iceland, the real value of EUR 1 is around ISK 174 which means that in its trade, Microsoft is assuming that the Icelandic króna is 31 percent stronger than it really is, as explained in a press release from Microsoft Iceland.

    “Microsoft Iceland has faith in the Icelandic economy long-term, although we will face difficulties in the coming weeks and months. Everyone has to contribute to keep the economy going and this is our contribution,” said managing director of Microsoft Iceland, Halldór Jörgensson.

    “Executives in the headquarters of Microsoft had a lot of understanding for the situation we have here and it was very pleasing to see how far they are prepared to go to help us by taking a position with the króna,” Jörgensson added.

  • Tim Davies March 23, 2010, 10:41 am

    Alda
    thanks for the great blog and all your explanations. Friends and I were discussing the whole concept of útrásarvikingar last night at my Icelandic evening class here in London and debating how to translate it without too many footnotes or silly-sounding loanwords like “outvasion” (which I actually quite like). I said I’d think about it and ask around, because someone is bound to have come up with a solution somewhere on line, though I haven’t seen one to date.
    It’s also interesting to me that we find the Icelanders’ attitude with regard to not being willing to pay back the money rather arrogant, while our own filthy rich bankers are still being paid disgustingly massive bonuses (yfirlaun?) and are not ploughing back any of that money into repaying our national debt – so it’s total hypocrisy to me.
    Keep up the good work.
    At least as translators, we should be kept busy for a while yet.
    Tim