Today is International Translation Day, a time to recognise the talent and skills of the very important group of people who help to make different languages and cultures, and in Orenda Books case, excellent works of fiction, accessible to people everyone.
I don’t know about you all but I am ashamed to admit that my knowledge of other languages is extremely limited. I can decipher a few things in French but am far from fluent, maybe a small amount of Italian and Spanish and have a stab at a limited amount of German. I can also just about remember how to order five vodkas, waters and coffees in Russian, so I’m good for a night out and subsequent recovery if I ever find myself out in Moscow, but that really is it. I’m certainly nowhere near the standard required to be able to read any of the many Orenda titles that have become some of my favourite ever reads, at least not without the help of the wonderful team of translators who work with Karen and the team. They really are heroes, the lot of them, and what better day to shine a spotlight on them all than today.
Meet The Heroes
DAVID HACKSTON is a British translator of Finnish and Swedish literature and drama. He graduated from University College London in 1999 with a degree in Scandinavian Studies and now lives in Helsinki where he works as a freelance translator. Notable publications include The Dedalus Book of Finnish Fantasy, Maria Peura’s coming-of-age novel At the Edge of Light, Johanna Sinisalo’s eco-thriller Birdbrain and two crime novels by Matti Joensuu. David is currently working on a translation of Riku Korhonen’s latest novelSleep Close. His drama translations include three plays by Heini Junkkaala, most recently Play it, Billy! (2012) about the life and times of jazz pianist Billy Tipton. David is also a regular contributor to Books from Finland. In 2007 he was awarded the Finnish State Prize for Translation. David is also a professional countertenor and is currently studying early music and performance practice at Helsinki Metropolia University. He is a founding member of the English Vocal Consort of Helsinki.
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DAVID WARRINER translates from French and nurtures a healthy passion for Franco, Nordic and British crime fiction. Growing up in deepest Yorkshire, he developed incurable Francophilia at an early age. Emerging from Oxford with a modern languages degree, he narrowly escaped the graduate rat race by hopping on a plane to Canada – and never looked back. More than a decade into a high-powered commercial translation career, he listened to his heart and turned his hand again to the delicate art of literary translation. David has lived in France and Quebec, and now calls beautiful British Columbia home.
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DON BARTLETT lives with his family in a village in Norfolk. He completed an MA in Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia in 2000 and has since worked with a wide variety of Danish and Norwegian authors, including Jo Nesbø and Karl Ove Knausgård. He has previously translated The Consorts of Death and Cold Hearts in the Varg Veum series.
KARI DICKSON read Scandinavian Studies at UCL and then went on to work in various theatres. While working in the theatre, she was asked to do literal translations of two Ibsen plays, which fuelled her interest and led to an MA in Translation at the University of Surrey. Having worked initially as a commercial translator, she now concentrates on literary translation, a good deal of which is crime fiction. Her translation of Roslund & Hellström’s Three Seconds won the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) International Dagger in 2011. She is also an occasional tutor in Norwegian language and literature, and translation at the University of Edinburgh.
Maxim Jakubowski is a crime, erotic, and science fiction writer and critic. Jakubowski was born in England by Russian-British and Polish parents, but raised in France. Jakubowski has also lived in Italy and has travelled extensively. Jakubowski edited the science fiction anthology Twenty Houses of the Zodiac in 1979 for the 37th World Science Fiction Convention (Seacon ’79) in Brighton. He also contributed a short story to that anthology. He has now published almost 100 books in a variety of areas. He has worked in book publishing for many years, which he left to open the Murder One bookshop, the UK’s first specialist crime and mystery bookstore.
He contributes to a variety of newspapers and magazines, and was for eight years the crime columnist for Time Out and, presently, since 2000, the crime reviewer for The Guardian. He is also the literary director of London’s Crime Scene Festival and a consultant for the International Mystery Film Festival, Noir in Fest, held annually in Courmayeur, Italy. He is one the leading editors in the crime and mystery and erotica field, in which he has published many major anthologies.
Rosie Hedger was born in Scotland and completed her MA (Hons) in Scandinavian Studies at the University of Edinburgh. She has lived and worked in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and now lives in York where she works as a freelance translator. Rosie was a candidate in the British Centre for Literary Translation’s mentoring scheme for Norwegian in 2012, mentored by Don Bartlett.
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QUENTIN BATES escaped English suburbia as a teenager, jumping at the chance of a gap year working in Iceland. For a variety of reasons, the gap year stretched to become a gap decade, during which time he went native in the north of Iceland, acquiring a new language, a new profession as a seaman and a family before decamping en masse for England.
He worked as a truck driver, teacher, netmaker and trawlerman at various times before falling into journalism largely by accident. He has been the technical editor of a nautical magazine for many years, all the while keeping a close eye on his second home in Iceland, before taking a sidestep into writing fiction. He is the author of a series of crime novels set in present-day Iceland (Frozen Out, Cold Steal, Chilled to the Bone, Winterlude, and Cold Comfort), which have been published in the UK, USA, Germany, Holland, Finland and Poland. He has translated a great deal of news and technical material into English from Icelandic, as well as one novel (Gudlaugur Arason’s Bowline).
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RACHEL WARD translates from German and French to English. Having always been an avid reader and enjoyed word games and puzzles, she discovered a flair for languages at school and went on to study Modern Languages at the University of East Anglia. She spent the third year working as a language assistant at two grammar schools in Saarbrücken, Germany. During her final year, she realised that she wanted to put these skills and passions to use professionally and applied for UEAs MA in Literary Translation, which she completed in 2002. Her published translations include the Nea Fox series of crime novels by Amelia Ellis, and books for young people such as Traitor by Gudrun Pausewang and Red Rage by Brigitte Blobel.
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Victoria Cribb studied and worked in Iceland for many years. She has translated more than 30 novels from the Icelandic and, in 2017, she received the Orðstír honorary translation award for services to Icelandic literature.
Books translated by Victoria Cribb: The Creak On the Stairs
MEGAN TURNEY is a freelance commercial and literary translator and editor. Recipient of the National Centre for Writing’s 2019 Emerging Translator Mentorship programme. I graduated in 2018 from the University of Edinburgh with a MA (Hons) in Scandinavian Studies and English Literature and a distinction in spoken Norwegian. I am on track to receive a distinction in my MA in Translation and Interpreting Studies at the University of Manchester, specialising in Norwegian and Danish translation into English. I am currently conducting a research dissertation on Bokmål and Nynorsk neural machine translation, whilst I continue my freelance work, in which I am translating a Norwegian crime novel for Orenda Books and working on regular business-to-consumer translations for UK and Norway-based LSPs.
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Books translated by Megan Turney: Smoke Screen
ANNE BRUCE has degrees in Norwegian and English from Glasgow University covering both Nynorsk and Bokmål, classic and modern texts, written and spoken Norwegian, as well as Old Norse, Icelandic, Swedish, and Danish. She has traveled extensively throughout Scandinavia on lecture and study visits, and undertaken translation and interpretation for visiting groups from Norway. She has translated Wencke Mühleisen’s I Should Have Lifted You Carefully Over, Jørn Lier Horst’s Dregs, and Anne Holt’s Blessed Are Those Who Thirst.
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Books Translated by Anne Bruce: Death Deserved
So how many of the books have you read, and how much richer do you feel for the experience? From me and Mandie we want to say a massive thank you to each and every one of the #TeamOrenda translators. You have helped us go on many journeys and live many lives that would otherwise have passed us by and we have loved every second of it. You have our utmost respect and the literary world is all the richer for your contribution to it.