2016 Finnish State Award for Foreign Translators goes to Norwegian translator Turid Farbregd

Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, Finland’s Minister of Education and Culture, has awarded the Finnish State Award for Foreign Translators to Turid Farbregd of Norway.

Turid Farbregd Bild: Dorota Osinska

Turid Farbregd
Photo: Dorota Osinska

Turid Farbregd’s career as a translator of Finnish literature into Norwegian spans several decades, with an increase in pace in the 2010s leading to several books published in her translation in a single year, including titles by Sofi Oksanen, Antti Tuomainen and Pajtim Statovci. Turid Farbregd has brought these contemporary writers’ works to Norwegian readers and demonstrated her versatility as a translator, turning her hand to historical novels, crime fiction and even dramatic scripts.

These books have found a readership and achieved success in Norway. Turid Farbregd’s translation of Katja Kettu’s novel Kätilö (“The Midwife”, Norwegian title Jordmora) received the award for Translated Book of the Year in Norway, while the first print run of Tommi Kinnunen’s Neljäntienristeys (“Where Four Roads Meet”, Norwegian title Der fire veier møtes) sold out immediately. In a review of Farbregd’s translation of a novel by Juha Itkonen, one Norwegian newspaper declared that Finnish literature was in the midst of a golden age.

Turid Farbregd was born in 1941 and has lived in Finland since 1970, when she arrived to take up a position as a Norwegian language lecturer at the University of Helsinki. She has also been involved in lexicographic work, most notably on a Finnish-Norwegian-Finnish dictionary in the mid-1970s and a Finnish-Norwegian dictionary in the early 1990s.

The number of Finnish books translated into Norwegian has remained admirably high this decade, thanks in no small measure to Turid Farbregd. In addition to her own translation work, she has served as a mentor to the next generation of translators: attracting them to the field, introducing them to the profession, sharing important contacts.

Farbregd is currently working on Katja Kettu’s novel Yöperhonen (“Hawk Moth”) and Tommi Kinnunen’s Lopotti (“The Light Behind the Eyes”). Both books will be published in her Norwegian translation next year.

“Translating is megalomania,” said Turid Farbregd of her own work. She expressed her delight at how Finnish literature is starting to make an impact outside Finland. “A crucial part of this is finding and training more translators,” she noted.

The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture has granted the State Award for Foreign Translators annually since 1975. The prize includes a monetary award of €15,000, and is awarded each year to a distinguished translator of Finnish literature on the recommendation of FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange.

For more information or to request an interview:
FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange
Silja Hakulinen, Communications Manager, tel. +358 40 534 7526

Turid Farbregd:
Photo (c) Dorota Osinska

FILI’s programme at the 2016 Helsinki Book Fair

The theme of this year’s Helsinki Book Fair (27–30 October 2016) is Nordic Literature.

FILI is hosting an expanded programme of public events at this year’s Helsinki Book Fair. Literary translation will be featured on several stages, including discussions of Nordic children’s books and translating language and culture into different languages. This year’s State Award for Foreign Translators will also be awarded at the book fair.

Thursday 27 October

12:00–12:30 Katri Vala stage
Kepler62. Authors Timo Parvela and Bjørn Sortland. Moderator Outi Menna. Language: English

15:00–15:30 Katri Vala stage
Translators as literary mediators. A panel discussion about translating Pajtim Statovci’s novel My Cat Yugoslavia (‘Kissani Jugoslavia’). Olga Huotari (Hungarian), Claire Saint-Germain (French). Moderator Leena Majander-Reenpää. Language: Finnish.

Friday 28 October

11:30–12:00 Katri Vala stage
Nordic Children’s literature from a translator’s point of view. Translators Jenny Johannessen, Jonas Rasmussen and John Swedenmark. Moderator Tiia Strandén. Language: English.

12:30–13:00 Book Café
Translators as literary mediators. Danish translators of Finnish literature discuss translating literature and culture. Birgita Bonde Hansen, Siri Nordborg Møller, René Semberlund Jensen. Language: Finnish.

This year for the first time, FILI is turning one seminar room into a “Translators’ Lounge” with a dedicated programme for and about translators and translating. The Translators’ Lounge (hall 207) programme:

Friday 28 October
9:00–10:00 Come and meet the FILI team! Your opportunity to ask about FILI’s grants and other topics.
10:00–11:00 Lecture: Current topics in literature for adults.
/ Author-journalist Karo Hämäläinen. Language: Finnish.
11:00–12:00 Lecture: Current topics in Finland-Swedish literature / Journalist Marit Lindqvist. Language: Swedish.
12:30–13:15 Climbing the Renaissance mountain – Montaigne’s essays / Renja Salminen, Finnish translator of Michel de Montaigne’s essays, and her editor Saara Pääkkönen in conversation with Alice Martin. Organised by SKTL and FILI. Language: Finnish.
13:30–14:30 Lecture: Current topics in children’s literature.
Paula Halkola, Director, Finnish Institute for Children’s Literature. Language: Finnish
14:30–15:30 Facts about non-fiction: current topics in non-fiction books on Finnish language and literature. Language: Finnish

Register here to attend the Translators’ Lounge lectures:

FILI’s translators-in-residence have been selected

FILI’s translators-in-residence for next year have been selected. The translators chosen to take part are Mattias Huss and Jesper Klint Kistorp. Huss is translating Elina Hirvonen and Kistorp Kjell Westö.

The translators will spend their residency next March at Villa Eläintarha in Helsinki.