ZOOM SEMINAR: Transnational Encounters - Translational Practices: Swedish-Finnish Cultural Influences in Emergent Finnish Literary Practice

  • Date: –16:00
  • Location: Via Zoom
  • Lecturer: Outi Paloposki, Erik Allardt Fellow, SCAS. Professor of English, University of Turku
  • Website
  • Organiser: Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
  • Contact person: Klas Holm
  • Seminarium

The talk will be followed by a Q&A session.

Abstract: Translation is often taken for granted as a transnational activity, but the text to be translated is only one part of the various cross-border encounters involved in translation. Before a work gets translated, a number of conditions need to be met. There needs to be knowledge about the work and practical ways of acquiring it: circulation of knowledge and distribution networks extending over national borders. Furthermore, there needs to be an understanding about potential methods and ways to transfer the work across linguistic and cultural borders, and available models for translation. These include textual and paratextual strategies, which also need to be acquired, appropriated or learned – largely through reading translations and debates on translation in other languages. My project at scas aims at examining these conditions and processes in the emergent Finnish translation culture during the 19th century, following the flow of translation discourses and practices from Sweden to Finland, Sweden’s former Eastern province. While concerned with translations, the project illuminates the larger picture of writing practices and their cross-border nature. In my presentation, I will discuss The Way to Wealth, Benjamin Franklin’s compendium of Almanacks published in 1758, and its travels to Sweden and Finland. I first zoom in on the phase before the actual translating took place through studying newspapers and journals, which advertised, excerpted and serialised translations, and then examine the resulting translations more closely. The methodological tool I have developed for the purpose of studying translators’ practices is “the translator’s desk”: I reconstruct an imaginary translator’s workspace and populate it with the potential material objects they may have had at hand. Some of the evidence is circumstancial – such as availability of certain newspapers and booksellers’ catalogues, as well as book ownership statistics (auction lists, catalogues of library and manor house book collections) – while other evidence comes from the individual translators’ archival records (letters to booksellers and publishers) and paratextual clues, referring to original texts and/or intermediary translations, sourcebooks such as handbooks, lexica and encyclopedias the translator has consulted. I hope my study will add to our knowledge on translators and their choices, by highlighting the complex activities of knowledge acquisition and mediation, and to enhance our understanding of the multilingual and international elements in the everyday work and practice of translators. In the 19th century Finland, they were often the ones who decided what to translate, with a direct influence on the concrete reading matter offered to the public.

For more information and the Zoom link, please see the enclosed PDF file or http://www.swedishcollegium.se/subfolders/Events.html.

Additional information