Translations into Finnish, English and Swedish

I have come to realise that my way of viewing translation work is perhaps quite different from the way most people do, or in any case, from the way most of the professional translation agencies and customers think about it.

The qualification for the “ideal candidate” for a translation assignment often includes the words “native speaker of the target language”. Between the languages that I work, i.e. translations into Finnish and English, a “native speaker” of English does not necessarily know the Finnish language well enough to translate from English into Finnish, and naturally vice versa. In other words: one needs a qualified “native Finnish speaker” for both!

One important consideration is certainly how well the translator understands the translatable text. Furthermore, how he/she can convey the original meaning. This is a far greater challenge than what one first envisages!

Let us take an example of a very large translation work: the translation of the Bible. We have many translations of translations that are based on one translation: Luther’s translation of the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into what became the basis of the German language; an enormous job in itself. It is understandable that many faults crept into this work, however great the achievement in itself is!

Today, when there is something I don’t know, I go to the Internet and search; in most cases I find the answer, and combined with my own knowledge, can rely on it. Moreover, I can use translation memories to make sure that I translate the specific expressions in a similar way.

There is also a great temptation for us when using the Internet! For those who do not understand the language they are translating from and into, to use a translation program on the Internet does seem to show a convenient and inexpensive way to achieve a translation. It is not. At least not when one has to deal with such a strange language as Finnish!

The point of this website is to explain my translation work and to offer up to date information to my present and future customers.

Amden, Switzerland — March 2015

Reijo Oksanen

PS God’s language is silence — everything else is translation

Comment is closed.

Someone of old has said: "God's language is silence, everything else is translation." (Perhaps Rumi, St. John of the Cross, who cares?)