RAF, DNA and CAPTCHA: English acronyms in German and Swedish translation


  • Jenny Ström Herold
  • Magnus Levin
  • Jukka Tyrkkö




This study investigates acronyms in English originals and their translations into German and Swedish, comparing forms, functions and distributions across the languages. The material was collected from the Linnaeus English-German-Swedish corpus (LEGS) consisting of original and translated popular non-fiction. From a structural point of view, acronyms most often occur as independent noun heads (When IBM introduced […]) or as premodifiers in a noun phrase (PGP encryption). Due to morphosyntactic differences, English acronym premodifiers often merge into hyphenated compounds in German translations (UN-Klimakonvention), but less frequently so in Swedish. The study also discusses explicitation practices when introducing source-culture specific acronyms in the translations. German translators explain and elaborate more than Swedish translators and they do so in the German language. Swedish translators, however, use English to a greater extent, suggesting that Swedish readers are expected to have better knowledge of English than German readers.




How to Cite

Ström Herold, Jenny, Magnus Levin, and Jukka Tyrkkö. 2021. “RAF, DNA and CAPTCHA: English Acronyms in German and Swedish Translation”. Bergen Language and Linguistics Studies 11 (1):163-84. https://doi.org/10.15845/bells.v11i1.3443.