ELN2024 – Programme

Logo for "ELN – English as a Lingua Nordica".

English as a Lingua Nordica – Language in a Changing World (#ELN2024) conference organized by NEaT and Kieliasiantuntijat (Language Experts) will be held 30–31 August 2024 at Visitor and Innovation Centre Joki in Turku/Åbo, Finland. Registration will open in May 2024. See information.

Scroll down to find presentation abstracts and speaker profiles.

29 August 
19.00 Optional meet-up and networking in Turku city centre
30 August 
10.00–11.00Off-conference programme
Guided walking tour of Turku
11.00–12.00Registration open
Innovation and Visitor Centre Joki
13.00Conference opens
Kate Sotejeff-Wilson, Chair of Nordic Editors and Translators
Hanna Gorschelnik, Executive Director, Kieliasiantuntijat (Language Experts)
Englishes, Tourism and Sustainability from a Nordic Perspective 
Susanne Mohr, Professor of English Sociolinguistics at the Department of Language and Literature in the Norwegian University of Science and Technology
14.15–15.00Coffee break
15.00–17.00Panel discussion
Nordic Languages Interacting with English: Challenges and Changes 
Panellists from Nordic language councils: Henna Makkonen-Craig, Senior Language Specialist, Docent, Institute for the Languages of Finland; Peter Juel Henrichsen, Senior Scientist, Dansk Sprognævn, Denmark; Laila Höglund, Project Manager, Institutet för språk och folkminnen, Sweden; and Kjetil Gundersen from Språkrådet, Norway. Moderator Kate Sotejeff-Wilson, Chair of NEaT.
Dinner (at a restaurant of own choice, not included in conference programme)
21.00Optional after-dinner drinks and get-together Restaurant Koulu
Saturday, 31 August
Workshops (parallel sessions)
10.00–12.00Poetry Workshop: English as a Ferrying Language
Jordan Barger, US, and Reetta Pekkanen, FI
Real Talk: The Language of Memoir

Christina M. Frey, US
10.00–12.00All About the Process
Simon Berrill, ES
An Argument for Sensitivity Editing: The Call to be Kind
Anna Merikallio, FI, and Julie Uusinarkaus, FI
10.00–12.00The NEaT Unchoir
Charlotte Merton, SE
Workshop TBD 
Presentations (parallel sessions)
13.30Human Excellence in an AI World
Kenneth Quek, FI
Overheard in Therapy: An Analysis of a Language-aware Encounter
Alicja Fajfer, FI
English in the Nordic Countries
Elizabeth Peterson
Senior University Lecturer, Department of Languages, University of Helsinki
15.15Coffee break
The Role of English in Translation into Finnish
Laura Ivaska 
University Lecturer, English Department, University of Turku
17.00Closing words
Kate Sotejeff-Wilson
Chair of NEaT
19.30Closing Dinner
Grädda restaurant

Abstracts and speaker profiles

Englishes, Tourism and Sustainability from a Nordic Perspective
Susanne Mohr, NO

As a result of multiple socio-political and cultural factors, English has rapidly spread globally from its homeland and continues to do so to this day.  Thus, different ‘Englishes’ (Mesthrie & Bhatt 2008) have developed in numerous places across the world, both offline and online, and are being used in various domains, with different functions. The field of World Englishes is concerned with the status and functions of these Englishes, as well as with their linguistic features (Mesthrie 2013). However, much of the research to date, has failed to adequately acknowledge the recent developments in sociolinguistics (Saraceni 2015). Research on tourism and Englishes, with its focus on, for instance, globalization, mobility, transnationalism, and cultural and linguistic diversity, is a notable exception. This is the first area on which this lecture will shed light.

Language and tourism or language in tourism have been approached from different angles, with a sociolinguistic vantage point examining the performative function of language in tourist contexts. Here, tourism emerges as a cultural industry that influences language choices and use. Language choices and multilingualism are frequently explored in this line of research, and English has emerged as the globally most frequently used language in tourism (Ruiz-Garrido & Saorín-Iborra 2013). Its use is normally a sign of international orientation, whereas local languages are utilised to enhance the authenticity of destinations and experiences (Storch & Mietzner 2021). The second area on which the lecture will focus is the use of Englishes in tourism in Norway, and the role that English plays as opposed to other local and international languages. My emphasis will be on the promotion of sustainability, which is construed differently in different languages and for different target groups. This I will illustrate using both offline and online data from cruise tourist contexts along the Norwegian coast. 

Susanne Mohr is Professor of English Sociolinguistics at the Department of Language and Literature at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. She holds a German postdoctoral degree in English and general linguistics from the University of Bonn and a PhD in general linguistics from the University of Cologne. Since 2018, she has been awarded several grants and fellowships to research linguistic repertoires, language choices and the interface of formal and informal language learning in physical and digital tourist spaces. The nature of her research is sociolinguistic and applied, and her key research interests include multilingualism and language contact, multimodality, informal language learning, and discursive place-making.

Panel discussion: Nordic Languages Interacting with English: Challenges and Changes 

This is the first ever panel of representatives from Nordic language councils. The panel discussion is a unique opportunity to compare and discuss English as a language used frequently in the Nordic countries for communication, business and other purposes as well as the countries’ language policies. The panellists are Henna Makkonen-Craig, Senior Language Specialist, Docent, Institute for the Languages of Finland; Peter Juel Henrichsen, Senior Scientist, Dansk Sprognævn, Denmark; Laila Höglund, Project Manager, Institutet för språk och folkminnen, Sweden; and Kjetil Gundersen of Språkrådet, Norway. The panel is moderated by Kate Sotejeff-Wilson, Chair of NEaT. 

How has English impacted on the languages of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark? How are these languages changing? What is the role of English in these countries? What challenges do we see for the future of these languages? We look forward to a stimulating discussion with you.

Poetry Workshop: English as a Ferrying Language
Jordan Barger, US, and Reetta Pekkanen, FI

Optimistically speaking, English can serve as a ferrying language. A poetry workshop is one of the best modes to showcase this. We also believe that a translation workshop is a valuable tool for learning a language, in this case, Finnish. 

We will host a two-hour session. The first hour we will spend workshopping a Finnish poem into English, and the second hour workshopping an English poem into Finnish.

The facilitators will be American translator Jordan Barger and Finnish poet Reetta Pekkanen. The two first met as part of the International Writer’s Workshop at Iowa, which was Jordan’s first serious point of contact with the Finnish language. We hope to demystify the idea of translation being restricted to advanced language practitioners, valorizing the translation workshop as a pedagogical tool, a close multicultural exchange, and a linguistic crossroads.

Jordan Barger is a translator and Masters student in Literary Translation at the University of Iowa. His translations have appeared in Poetry Magazine, FENCE, Circumference, and elsewhere. 

Reetta Pekkanen is a Turku poet who has published the collections Pieniä kovia nuppuja [Small Hard Buds] (2014), Kärhi [Tendril] (2019), Salakuljetuksia [Smugglings] (2021), and Katkaistut tulppaanit [Cut Tulips] (2023). Her poetry focuses on themes of personal and environmental loss, non-human perspectives, and natural semiotics. Among her awards are the Kalevi Jäntti Prize, the Katri Vala Prize, and the Silja Hiidenheimo Memorial Stipend. She is a member of the poetry publishing cooperative Poesia.

Workshop: Real Talk: The Language of Memoir
Christina M. Frey, US

This workshop unravels the challenges of editing memoir and other deeply personal narratives, navigating the balance of preserving authenticity, and addressing sensitive subjects while giving honest, professional feedback. It goes beyond theoretical discussions and offers practical strategies that editors can use to maintain the raw, authentic voice of the author while still adhering to industry standards and ensuring that the narrative remains a true reflection of the author’s experiences. It will also address the ethics of confidentiality and consent, and recognize the particular need for sensitivity when handling narratives where editors or authors may not share the lived experience of the subject.

Both seasoned professionals and those new to the field who are dipping into the nuances of memoir editing for the first time will come away with a deeper understanding of the real-world intersection of editorial principles and collaborative editing, and of how to approach editing personal narratives in a human and professional way.

Christina M. Frey is an editor, literary coach, and editing instructor (pagetwoeditorial.com) and served as co-executive of the Editorial Freelancers Association for six years. She specializes in helping both novice and experienced writers develop and refine their authorial voice.

Workshop: All About the Process
Simon Berrill, ES

The first part of the workshop will concentrate on what ‘process’ means and what kinds of processes we follow, from receiving an inquiry and sending a quote, through various drafts and the use of different tools, to our final text being ready for delivery. After a short presentation, followed by discussions in different sized groups, attendees will consider their own process and those of others. Do we always work the same way, or do we vary the process, depending on the job? Are we looking for perfection from the start or do we gradually improve a piece of writing? And how do we decide when it is ready for delivery?

The second part of the session will focus on flaws and improvements. Again, through discussions in groups of varying sizes, attendees will try to identify the problems in their own processes and look for ways of resolving them with the help of their colleagues. By the end of the session, attendees should have a much better idea of their own working process and alternative models. They should also have identified improvements they would like to make, and the actions they can take to bring these about.

Simon Berrill is a translator working from Spanish, Catalan and French into English and specialising in cultural tourism, particularly history, heritage and wine. He has presented at METM and for the ITI. Simon lives near Barcelona and is a member of the ITI, CIoL, MET and APTIC.

Workshop: An Argument for Sensitivity Editing: The Call to be Kind
Anna Merikallio, FI, and Julie Uusinarkaus, FI

This workshop will introduce and define the principles behind sensitivity editing and translating sensitively, and psychological accessibility. These go beyond just looking at ethnicity and gender; they also include ableism and words referencing mental health, gender and sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, and words describing ourselves and the political world in which we live. We will first present some general principles of sensitivity editing and translating and review how these can be applied in practice, and then spend some time working in smaller groups delving deeper into these principles and how to apply them, and discovering other, more specific ways to approach texts. At the end of each focus session, we will share and review what we have learned.

Language grows and adapts along with cultural changes, and sometimes words and phrases have grown out of their original concepts, which no longer apply. When we are aware of these concepts and keep future readers in mind, the texts we produce will be available to a larger audience and help language evolve towards greater accessibility and kindness.

Julie (Jules) Uusinarkaus (she/they) is an in-house translation revisor at the University of Helsinki and a freelance editor and language consultant. As a revisor, Jules focuses on stylistic issues and contributes to the in-house guidelines. Their areas of focus include style guides, organizational development, and the language of design.

Anna Merikallio (they/them) is a freelance translator and language revisor and a doctoral researcher at the University of Turku. As a language professional, their areas of expertise include science communication, media literacy, and cultural heritage. In their research, they discuss the themes of ethical translation, gender diversity, and science fiction.

Workshop: The NEaT Unchoir
Charlotte Merton, SE

This workshop will be an exploration of language, sound and movement. Conducted by Charlotte Merton, we will create and perform The NEaT Fugue, a unique arrangement of Ernst Toch’s Geographical Fugue for speaking chorus. Participants of all vocal abilities are welcome and there is no need to know how to read music. The workshop is designed to be an inclusive experience, integrating verbal and unmusical expression.

We will begin with a crash course in sheet music followed by a “speed adaptation”, when we adapt Toch’s lyrics in a series of short conversations in pairs. We will then pool our adaptations and try them out as the NEaT Unchoir, followed by a short break to recover. Voice work, gesture and movement are next. We will finish with a performance of the NEaT Fugue for our own entertainment.

A choir is a chance to cultivate your own voice by performing in a group, and a speaking choir even more so, but translators and editors hardly ever get to work together in that way. In the NEaT Unchoir you will not only play with language collaboratively, but also have a chance to explore working with verse, song lyrics and the spoken word.

Charlotte Merton is a Swedish to English translator and editor specialising in academic texts. She also plays the double bass.

Human Excellence in an AI World
Kenneth Quek, FI

The world of publishing is facing encroachment from LLM (Large Language Model) text generation and translation software. As editors and translators, we need to make our case for our continued relevance, based on our ability to do things that LLMs cannot do well – to provide human excellence in an AI world. But what does ‘excellence’ truly mean, and does it provide actual value to our clients? 

In this presentation, Kenneth considers excellence from the perspective of the service provider, the client and institutional bodies – both academic and commercial. Each of these will have a different idea of what constitutes excellent work; many components will overlap, and they will be prioritised differently. One of the biggest challenges for a language professional is to reconcile these potentially conflicting demands to deliver a product that is truly excellent for each stakeholder party. He will thus seek to offer suggestions for a service concept that emphasises the advantages that human editors and translators hold over LLMs. 

This talk will hopefully prove to be of interest to all language professionals seeking to secure their prospects in an industry undergoing rapid change and facing tremendous pressure on volume and prices.

Kenneth Quek is a Singaporean who resides in Helsinki. He works as a freelance academic revisor for the University of Helsinki Language Centre as well as a freelance editor and copywriter in the corporate sector. He has previous experience in private teaching, translation and journalism.

Overheard in Therapy: An Analysis of a Language-Aware Encounter
Alicja Fajfer, FI

This presentation analyses a one-time therapy session with one bilingual and one monolingual client, in which the therapist also plays the role of interpreter. The data come from a publicly available recording. Given the nature of therapeutic work, the therapist’s office should be a language-aware environment by default. Drawing from Conversation Analysis, I will focus on how the linguistic insecurity of the monolingual client is mitigated. Although the group agrees on ground rules, the interaction reveals the difficulties of ensuring an ideal language-aware encounter. Although it seems promising in the beginning, the interaction soon ruptures, as the monolingual participant finds themselves excluded. The rupture in communication requires adjusting the interpreting practice from treating the recipient as completely monolingual, passive and separated from the source language message to engaging them to interact with the source language and co-create the interpretation. Despite being relatively short, the therapy session offers versatile material to evaluate the success of language-aware practices. As the participants actively try to make their conversation inclusive, one may extract universal tips from their strategies and guidelines for also addressing linguistic asymmetry elsewhere. When interpreters allow clients to co-produce the target text, they create empowering multilingual encounters.

Alicja Fajfer is a Project Researcher at the University of Eastern Finland. She researches the linguistic insecurity that emerges in multilingual encounters.

English in the Nordic Countries: links to identity and exceptionalism
Elizabeth Peterson, FI

In this presentation, Elizabeth will give an overview of some of the main themes to emerge from the recently published volume English in the Nordic Countries: Connections, Tensions, and Everyday Realities (Peterson and Beers Fägersten, 2024), drawing in particular from the book’s final chapter. She will highlight some of the major areas covered in the volume, including historical and contemporary contacts with English, popular culture, domain loss, and the use of English in specific settings such as higher education, the workplace and the home. During the presentation, she will connect the book’s main themes to societal issues such as equity and inclusivity when it comes to the use of English in Nordic populations. The main points emphasized in the presentation will include the concept of Nordic-specific identities, ownership of English, and how these factors relate to the notion of Nordic exceptionalism (Peterson 2022).

Peterson, Elizabeth. 2022. “Views on ‘Good English’ and ‘Nordic Exceptionalism’ in Finland” in Alexander Onysko and Peter Siemund, (eds.). Englishes in a Globalized World: Exploring Contact Effects on Other Languages. Frontiers in Communication – Language Sciences. Epub 803922. Open access.  Peterson, Elizabeth and Kristy Beers Fägersten (eds.). 2024. English in the Nordic Countries: Connections, Tensions, and Everyday Realities. New York, NY and Abingdon, UK: Routledge. Open access

Elizabeth Peterson is a Senior University Lecturer at the University of Helsinki, where she teaches courses and supervises research on variation in English, language attitudes, and language and gender. She is the director of the Kone Foundation-funded project Language Awareness and Ideologies in Finland. Her most recent publication, English in the Nordic Countries: Connections, Tensions, and Everyday Realities, is freely available as an Open Access book at www.routledge.com. She is also a frequent commentator on English in Finland and the Nordic Countries, for example as a podcast guest and in journalism interviews.

The Role of English in Translation into Finnish
Laura Ivaska, FI

In this talk, I will delve into the role of English in translations into Finnish, focusing on literary translation. After presenting a sketch of this role from the historical perspective, I will zoom in on a specific case study: the Keltainen kirjasto (‘Yellow library’) series of world literature in Finnish translation, which has been published by Tammi since 1954. To date, circa 550 translations have been published, and these include works by 30 Nobel laureates. As English has been the source language of over a half of these translations, this book series offers fertile ground for exploring the topic of this talk. Zooming further in on individual translations, I will reveal some interesting details about the translations’ processes. For instance, in some cases, English functions as the mediating or support language for a translation of a book originally published in some other language, such as Japanese or Modern Greek. This speaks for the important role of translation from English, not only does it enable English-language literature to be read in Finnish, but it also helps bring other literatures to the Finnish market

Laura Ivaska is a University Lecturer at the University of Turku where she teaches translation from English into Finnish and translation studies. She is also a postdoctoral researcher in the ‘Traces of Translation in the Archives’ project of the Finnish Literature Society (SKS). Her research interests include indirect translation, translation history, genetic translation studies and corpus-based translation studies. She recently co-edited the special issues of Target (2022), Perspectives (2023) and Translation Spaces (2023) on indirect translation. She is currently co-editing a volume entitled ‘Tekstit ympärillämme: Kirjoituksia tekstikäsityksistä ja -käytänteistä’ to be published later this year. She is also an editor of Mikael (the Finnish Journal of Translation and Interpreting Studies) and the Multilingual Website Editor of Target (the International Journal of Translation Studies).