As I learn Swedish myself, I’m making notes of what online resources I find useful, or think are worth a look, and adding them here.
None of the links are affiliate links (which means I don’t get paid for recommending them to others).
But go form your own opinion!
Simple, free and able to handle whole sentences or longer texts? Just type Swedish-English dictionary into Google and use Google’s own translate ‘box’ thingy… I’ve added that page to my favourites bar, along with another page for the English-Swedish version of the same thing.
The People’s Dictionary is ugly, but worth playing with. When I’m really stuck, I go here.
Duolingo.com is very popular. I did the whole of their Swedish course when I was just starting with the language and learnt a lot from it. It costs nothing, and the website version is even free of ads.
Some people swear by Memrise. Personally I didn’t get on with it, but it’s certainly worth a look.
8Sidor.se features daily simplified news stories, to read and listen to. I use it every weekday without fail.
For reading and listening on a computer, try 8 Sidor (mentioned above), which offers simplified news stories and accompanying audio.
And being a bit of a news junkie, I like SVT Nyheter, Swedish state TV’s news website. It features short texts along with video clips. I can usually work out the headlines with the help of a dictionary.
Listening, video and TV
Beginners could do much worse than ‘SVENSKA FÖR ALLA‘, a Youtube channel hosting professionally-produced videos aimed, one assumes, at Sweden’s large population of recent immigants. Click here and watch them all, you won’t regret it. Thanks to Dan, one of my online teachers, for putting me on to this one.
Most of Swedish TV is rights-protected, meaning you can’t watch it unless you’re in Sweden (or unless you cheat with a VPN…) But here, out of pique, I’m only linking to the things everyone can watch.
On the Swedish TV site, check out ‘Nyheter på lätt svenska‘ (News in Easy Swedish). It’s not actually that easy, but it’s better than nothing. This simplified news program is published each weekday at 17.15 (Swedes don’t seem to work at the weekend…) I’ve made listening to this a regular daily thing, and it’s slowly getting less hard.
As mentioned above, 8Sidor.se is great. Click on the ‘Lyssna’ tab in the menu, press the play button and listen while reading the supporting text. Or listen first with no text. Or read first, then listen. Do it anyway that works for you, but do it, as it’s free!
SVT Nyheter, mentioned above in the reading section, also boasts a short news summary, though it’s not simplified. Find it in the top right-hand corner of the homepage – look for the words ‘Senaste sändningen’ (latest transmission) under the picture of the smiling newsreader.
A recent discovery is Radio Sweden på lätt svenska – Radio Sweden in Easy Swedish – featuring broadcasts each weekday, average length 7-10 minutes. Note that this one, while excellent, offers no supporting transcript, which makes it more suitable for intermediate levels and above.
If you use a smartphone or tablet to study, there’s often an app version of the websites above:
For reading and listening in Swedish on the go, try the 8 SIDOR app.
The app version of Duolingo is, if anything, even better than the site. It’s advertising-supported but the ads only pop up at the end of each lesson. Whip out the smartphone to study in idle moments between meetings or before lessons!
Build your Swedish vocabulary with Tinycards. You can import the contents of the Swedish Duolingo course but focus only on the areas that are most important to you.
Lingoci.com is affordable and the teachers are friendly. If what you want is conversation practice, rather than structured teaching, this is a good place to start.