The elephant in the room – förutsättning
We are all adults here. Surely we can talk about förutsättning without getting angry or flustered. First, a few frank translations of the term:
FARS dictionary offers these unembarrassed equivalents: condition, prerequisite, assumption, premise.
A Swedish-English law dictionary adds the options: assumptions, supposition, and basis.
Other dictionaries add: presumption, requirement, opportunity, chance, prospect.
There are lots of options here, and no doubt many more not listed. So this tells us the context is crucial for finding the right term. And yet, even with all these options, it feels like “condition” and “prerequisite” get called on far too often as stand-ins for förutsättningar. And both options are increasingly less satisfying for me in my old age.
Shouldn’t we be looking for other solutions beyond these two standards?
Or maybe, just maybe, there’s another option. What if we edit out förutsättning in our English translations? Rewrite the text to make it more idiomatic and less Swedish-burdened. Perhaps that’s the elephant I’ve been trying to put my finger on.
But do we have the right to edit out a term that is so crucial for Swedish bureaucracy that the entire folkhem could crumble without it? Do we have the time? The energy? The inclination?