English Today V: “Doing Language”

So what is it exactly that language professionals do all day? This year’s English Today takes a deeper look into the many considerations editors and translators working in and out of English have to keep in mind as they go about their work.

Our keynote speaker this year is the award-winning translator of English into Finnish, Kersti Juva, who will share many valuable insights she has gained over her five-decade career working intimately with both languages. She is joined by translator Tiina Kinnunen, who will present best industry practices for presenting yourself as an expert and negotiating with clients. Researcher Hanna-Mari Pienimäki will reveal what recent translator and editor workplace observations have concluded about day-to-day working processes, and finally, publisher Graham Lees will talk about the highs and lows of getting some very interesting clients published.

From left: Pienimäki, Kinnunen, Juva, Lees

The popular English Today program sells out fast each year, so act quickly! Registration through Eventbrite here

After the presentations, there will be plenty of time for mingling and networking, as everyone is welcome to stay and enjoy a light dinner and glass of wine (included in the registration price).

Time: Friday, 15 March 2019
Doors open at 2:30pm, program starts at 3pm

Place: Finnbrit offices at Fredrikinkatu 20 A 9 in central Helsinki

Cost: €40 for NEaT and Finnbrit members, €50 for non-members
The cost of the seminar includes a coffee break, light dinner and glass of wine.

The English Today Seminar is a yearly event, proudly presented by NEAT and FINNBRIT.


Kersti Juva: Exploring Finnish in relation to English

Kersti Juva, MA, has translated literature, novels and plays, from English into Finnish from 1972 including old masters (Shakespeare, Laurence Sterne, Charles Dickens), children’s books (A.A. Milne), fantasy (Tolkien) and modern writers (AS Byatt, Julian Barnes). She has won several prestigious prizes: the Finnish State award in 1976 and 1986, the Agricola Prize in 1998, the Finnish Cultural Fund Prize in 2006, and the Pro Finlandia medal in 2018, as well as having the titles Artist Professor 2008–2013 and Doctor HC Itä-Suomen yliopisto 2014. She has promoted literary translation actively in the media, through lecturing and running courses. Currently she is finishing a book exploring the Finnish language in comparison to English, with examples from her own translations.

Abstract: I aim to discuss some fundamental features of Finnish by presenting examples from my own translations. Topics will include word order, modal expressions and deixis.

Tiina Kinnunen: From whining to shining

I’m a professional subtitler and translator/editor and work with YLE and major Finnish production companies. My work helps Finnish films and TV series reach a wider audience, and I get to work with many interesting projects. I like to give back to the translation community, and together with my colleagues, we put together The Translator’s Guide to the Industry, a hands-on web guide for people entering the field. I frequently give guest lectures at Finnish universities and participate in translation conferences.

Abstract: How do you position and present yourself as an expert and command expert fees? It’s time to step into the limelight as highly qualified and educated language experts instead of the lonely geek burning the midnight oil. How do we accomplish that? I will be showcasing a Finnish initiative by independent translators, The Translator’s Guide to the Industry, a crowd-sourced online publication helping both beginners and experienced freelancers to position themselves as experts commanding respectable fees. The book offers practical advice on networking, brand image and management, price negotiations and much more.

Hanna-Mari Pienimäki: Language professionals as language regulators: The maintenance and production of language quality

Hanna-Mari Pienimäki (MA) is a doctoral student at the University of Helsinki. She works in a research project called Language Regulation in Academia (LaRA, web page https://www.helsinki.fi/en/researchgroups/language-regulation-in-academia) funded by the Kone Foundation. The LaRA project explores different forms of language regulation in academic settings. Language regulation is understood in broad terms; as the various ways in which language users intervene in and monitor their own and others’ language. Language regulation targets either language choice (what languages can be used) or language quality (what kind of language can be used). Hanna-Mari’s research focuses on language professionals and studies what kind of language the language professionals regulate, how and why. In her ethnographic research she studies the everyday work of translators and language editors working in a multilingual Finnish university. In her PhD she investigates what quality means in translation and language editing – both ideologically and in practice. Before joining the LaRA project, Hanna-Mari worked as a translator. She translated and proofread texts for an engineering office. She also translated children’s cartoons as a subcontractor for a company that provides voice-over translations for Finnish TV channels.

Abstract: In my PhD research I study the everyday work of translators and language editors working in a multilingual Finnish university. My ethnographic research focuses on how the participants regulate the language of different academic genres, such as administrative texts and journal articles, particularly in English. Language regulation refers to the ways in which language users manage, monitor and intervene in each other’s or their own language use. In the unit I studied, the translators and language editors collaborate to sustain institutional multilingualism and language quality: they ‘rewrite’ texts, monitor the norm adherence of texts and intervene in content-related, structural or stylistic features of texts if they deem it necessary. In the unit, the English translators and language editors act as language regulators of local, institutionally established norms and ideals that they both monitor and develop. In this presentation I employ the concept of language regulation and try to unpack what intervening in language use means in the everyday work of the translators and language editors I studied. I will explore what triggers the language regulation, in other words, why the interventions might be happening in the first place. In addition, I explore what goes on in the interventions; what kind of norms are being mediated and what kind of normative conceptualizations of language use the interventions draw from.

Graham Lees: Translating 101: Art or Science?

Graham applied to university to be an aeronautical engineer. After just one incomplete day of engineering at Cambridge, he switched to Natural Sciences comprising maths, physics, chemistry and physiology, whatever that was. Fascinated by a subject he couldn’t even define at the time, he ended up with a PhD in biophysical neurophysiology. A postdoc in France was followed by a whimsical switch to scientific publishing in Amsterdam, New York, San Diego and then Helsinki-Kirkkonummi, where he published his own journal. Fortune again shined and he co-wrote a book on Drug Discovery, followed by a sequel. Both books were translated into Japanese and Chinese. Luckily, his co-author is a genius. He has language-corrected articles in science and surgery, and latterly translated a work of history from French to English. He has reignited his inner dramatic tendencies and adapted and acted in “The Finnish Play”, taken on numerous other roles, and is currently directing with Zoë Chandler “Immaculate” to be staged February 2019.

Abstract: “Your order is a chaos full of hard work” (From the Diary of a Snail – Günter Grass) The publisher has always been betwixt and between the author and the reader. The interface. The organizer. Graham will share highlights and lowlights in his journey from scientist, to publisher, to editor, to author, to ad hoc translator. How it is to work with English written by non-native English-speaking scientists and surgeons? And, after all is said and done, how do you get it published? PS: If you want to consider translation as a primary or secondary source of income, best not to start with Finnish.

Published by Virvey

Writer, editor and translator in Finnish and English

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