The recipient of the 2018 Finnish State Award for Foreign Translators is Birgita Bonde Hansen, who has translated literature by numerous internationally renowned Finnish authors including Sofi Oksanen, Laura Lindstedt and Antti Tuomainen into Danish. Her output as a literary translator so far encompasses some 40 works of contemporary Finnish literature.
Birgita Bonde Hansen, who was born in 1977 and studied Finnish at the University of Copenhagen, came to translation via dramatic works. Her first translations of novels, by Kari Hotakainen and Sofi Oksanen, were published in 2011. Her career has progressed in tandem with both of these authors, and she now has four translations of works by Hotakainen and four of Oksanen’s novels to her name. She also translates Estonian literature into Danish.
Birgita Bonde Hansen enjoys linguistic challenges in her translation work. She relies on solid language skills and her training in linguistics. She is also skilled at translating works by stylistically challenging authors, such as Katja Kettu and Rosa Liksom. The depth of Birgita Bonde Hansen’s professional skill is evident in her dedication and passion for her work.
Danish has been one of the major destination languages for Finnish literature in translation in recent years. The success of Finnish books in Denmark is due in no small part to Birgita Bonde Hansen’s excellent translations. Earlier this year she was the recipient of the Blixen Award, given by the Danish Translators’ Association.
The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture has granted the State Award for Foreign Translators since 1975. The prize sum is 15,000 euros, which is sourced from the profits of Veikkaus, the state-owned gaming company. The prize is awarded each year to a distinguished translator of Finnish literature on the recommendation of FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange.
As Sampo Terho, Finland’s Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sport, who presented the award to Birgita Bonde Hansen, pointed out, the prize is a special mark of honour for the translators who make Finnish literature a part of world literature.