Translated Terms

While most people in Iceland speak English, my lack of understanding the Icelandic language has, at times, proven difficult. Resources, be it online search engines, library cataloging systems, or articles and books are often written in Icelandic. In a meeting with Kristín Þorleifsdóttir, it became evident that my lack of understanding Icelandic terminology is currently an impediment to this research.

My intention is to use this post as a running record of Iceland’s design and energy vocabulary that is pertinent to this geothermal research. This resource will serve as my online cheat sheet (Icelandic + English). Please feel free to make corrections to my translations, add terminology, and use this resource.


  • aerial photograph                    loftmyndi
  • building                                   byggingarfulltrúa
  • comprehensive plan               aðalskipulagsuppdráttur
  • diagram                                  uppdráttur
  • drawings                                 teikningar
  • energy                                    orka
  • environment                            umhverfismál
  • electrical                                 raf
  • electrical utilities                     rafveita
  • electricity                                rafmagn
  • geothermal                             jarðhita-, jarðvarma-
  • ground                                    jörð
  • heat                                        hita
  • heating                                   hitaveita
  • hot water                                heitur vatn
  • hot springs                             hvera
  • historical                                söguleg
  • industrial                                iðnaðar
  • local (plan)                             deiliskipulag
  • map                                        korta
  • national energy authority       orkustofnun
  • national power company        landsvirkjun
  • nature                                     náttúran
  • nature protection                    náttúruvernd
  • open space                            opin svæð
  • pipe                                        lagnir
  • planning                                 skipulags
  • power                                     máttur
  • smoke                                    reyk
  • steam pipe                             gufulögn
  • streets                                    götur
  • temperature                           hitastig
  • varma                                    thermal
  • volcano                                  eldfjall
  • water supply                          veitustarfsemi
  • wells (bore holes)                  borholur

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