Sweden, in Northern Europe, is geographically of the same size as France or Spain, or roughly one tenth of the land mass of the USA. But it is sparsely populated for its size, with only 9 million inhabitants. The economy is supported by forestry, paper manufacturing, mining, vehicle production and technology—all important export commodities. The country is covered with lakes and has a long coastline. Sweden hasn't participated in wars for almost 200 years.
The main language is Swedish. Romani is spoken around the country by a smaller population. Almost 20 per cent of the people are immigrants or children of immigrants, and they speak many different languages. The largest group in this class are Finnish. Under Sweden’s system of education, every child has the right to get at least some hours of mother tongue education in school.
Languages which have had a strong influence on Swedish are German and French, and more lately, English.
After the church reformation from Catholicism to Luther's Protestantism the first full New Testament was translated into Swedish 1526, and the first full Bible in 1541, by Olaus Petri. Saint Bridget is considered to have translated at least smaller parts to Swedish much earlier, during the 14th century.
Mother tongue education and Bible translation are things of high value in the Swedish society. The parliament published a complete new translation of the Bible in 1999. Within just a few months of publication of this new version, over ten percent of the population purchased copies. The Swedish version of the New Testament portion of the New Living Bible was published 2004 and has attained high sales success also, especially among the youth. Folk&Språk (Peoples&Languages, the Swedish Wycliffe Member Organization) provided three translators for that translation project.
The main work of Folk&Språk since the 1970s has been to partner with likeminded organizations worldwide and in Sweden for language-focused development, including Bible translation. Projects are supported through allocated Swedish personnel and through project funding coming from about 35 countries. In this partnership, support comes through individuals, and with larger amounts received through the Swedish government development agency Sida, through the Swedish Mission Council and PMU Interlife, as well as through churches, denominations, second hand shops and business sponsors.
Folk&Språk has around 1000 members; of these, about 40 are in different kinds of service. Official representatives of partner organizations in Sweden constitute the larger part of the board.