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A matter of (local) style

“For us, the installation in 1999 reduced the number of errors in our newspaper by many, many percent” 

Håvard Myklebust, Bergensavisen

The local spelling is very important

Bergen, Norway

The editors of Bergensavisen had a problem. The readers of their newspaper — published in Bergen, Norway’s second largest city — spell and use some Norwegian words and expressions in a way that is unique from other areas of the country. This is a source of pride that, in some way, makes the residents of this city on the North Sea culturally distinct.

In the land of the fjords, words matter. “It’s not only the dialect that is different, but also the way we write words,” said Tor Christian Larsen, graphic designer and creative leader at Bergensavisen. For example, the standard spelling of the word “tjuagutt” (which loosely translates into the English word “rascal”) is changed in Bergen, where they spell it “kjuagutt”. This might seem like a fairly small, insignificant detail, but to the people of western Norway, it matters. “The local spelling is very, very important to us,” said Håvard Myklebust, journalist and night editor.

So much so, that the newspaper published opposing viewpoint columns on the merits of the two different spellings of the word, as well as a Short Message Service (SMS) reader poll to decide, once and for all, which spelling they should use. “It was one of the best polls we’ve had,” said Myklebust. And the results of the poll? The majority of readers preferred the non-standard, local spelling.

All of this means that the newspaper must work hard to ensure that the text they publish conforms to their region’s special style. That includes articles written by young journalists trained in other parts of the country, as well as stories received from wire services and contributing journalists. Because of this, “standard spelling checkers would never work for us,” said Larsen, since they would continually try to “correct” the local dialect, and would probably introduce errors, instead of eliminate them. But, luckily, the editors at Bergensavisen have some help from a special kind of spell checking technology called the Tansa Text Proofing System.



Company: Bergensavisen
Location: Bergen, Norway
Solution: Tansa Text Proofing System 3 Date Implemented: Upgraded Feb. 2005
Integration: TietoEnator MPress editorial system, Micro

“The world changed when we got the first version of Tansa.
Tansa is a tool to make sure our newspaper is in the best state it can be.” 

Håvard Myklebust, Bergensavisen

Tansa Solves the Problem

Unlike any other spelling checker you’ve ever worked with, Tansa proofreads your content in phrases of up to 10 words at a time, making it capable of checking not only the spelling of words, but also the usage of words and the style of your writing. And, because every installation of Tansa includes a set of dictionaries and style rules custom-tailored to the specifications of each client, Tansa solves Bergensavisen’s problem. Their Tansa system has been taught not to change the name of the large monument in the center of the city, dedicated to the seamen of Norway, from “Sjøfartsmonumentet” (Shipping Monument) to “Sjømennenes monument” (Sailor’s Monument). “I trust it,” said Bjørn Tore Brøske, subeditor. “It’s easy to work with and logical.”

Easy and logical

“I trust it,” said Bjørn Tore Brøske, subeditor. “It’s easy to work with and logical.” Bergensavisen first purchased the hyphenation tools from Tansa in 1996. In 1999, they added the text proofing tools. But Tansa not only helps them retain their peculiar writing style, it has also helped them reduce the overall number of spelling, style, grammar, and punctuation errors that appear in the paper. “For us, the installation in 1999 reduced the number of errors in our newspaper by many, many percent,” said Myklebust. “The world changed when we got the first version of Tansa.” Editors say they especially appreciate Tansa’s ability to correct names and place names.


“Tansa is very good if you are not 100 percent sure about how to spell the names,” said Brøske. Unlike many Scandinavian newspapers, Bergensavisen has never had full-time employees dedicated solely to proofreading text. “Tansa is a tool to make sure our newspaper is in the best state it can be,” said Myklebust. “It [Tansa] is a much cheaper way for us … rather than hiring people just to do proofreading.”

A Major Upgrade

At the beginning of 2005, the paper began installing Tansa System 3, a major update to the Tansa Text Proofing System. “When System 3 is running for everyone, we expect the world to change again,” said Myklebust. “The new version of Tansa catches many more errors than the old one.” System 3 is a complete rewrite of the Tansa system, intended to improve all aspects of the system. These improvements include:

  • The Tansa Server is now much smarter, with improved routines for handling names, abbreviations and punctuation.
  • Client and server communication is now done through a Web Service, utilizing the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and the eXtensible Markup Language (XML). This enables clients on any platform to communicate with the server.
  • The Tansa Client software for proofing and hyphenation is now standardized for all clients and platforms and has a more user-friendly user interface with adjustable windows and new shortcut keys.
  • A new Tansa Administrator tool now makes it significantly easier to add new words and phrases to the system’s dictionaries and gives the language editor greater control over Tansa’s mode of operation. The editors at Bergensavisen primarily use Tansa in their editorial department, where it is integrated with TietoEnator’s integrated production system, MPress, but with the installation of System 3, the paper’s advertising division — which includes a full-fledged advertising agency — now also uses Tansa to proof the materials they produce. In fact, the day after Tansa was installed in the advertising department, Tansa found a serious error in an advertisement just before it was to be published. The manager of the advertising department credits Tansa with saving the paper 30,000 NOK (about $4,900 US) on that first day. “There are no alternatives to Tansa,” said Myklebust. “Tansa is a tool to help us see the errors that we don’t see on the screen.”

“Tansa is a tool to help us see the errors that we don’t see on the screen.”

Håvard Myklebust, Bergensavisen

Tansa applied

Selection of case studies

Tansa is a natural and importatnt part of many companies everyday life. We have asked some of them how and why Tansa makes such a difference.


Teknisk Ukeblad:

“Most important is that Tansa ensures consistency where there are alternative word forms, and that it corrects spelling mistakes”



“In a modern news cycle, the time that elapses from event to published news is short, so we depend on an efficient proofing tool which is also easy to use”


Bay Area News Group

“Because we’ve made Tansa available to everyone who touches a story file, a great many routine edits are fixed long before the story reaches the copy desk,”


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