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Alice Martin

Born February 12, 1959, Helsinki

Master of Arts (English philology) 2008, University of Helsinki

Editor for foreign fiction 1989–91, 1993–, WSOY
Freelance editor 1985–89, 1991–93, WSOY and others.
Translator into Finnish 1982–

Teaching at the University of Helsinki, courses arranged by the Finnish Association of Translators and Interpreters, the Finnish Book Publishers Association and KAOS (Literary translators’ branch of UJF), and various workshops for Finnish translators

Member of the Finnish Language Board 2009–15

Publications and translations:
Presentations and articles on translation and editorial work
Finnish translations of poetry and books for children and young people, including those of Lewis Carroll, Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes, and the poems of Tolkien.

Awards and special achievements:
The Alvar Renqvist Prize 2005
The Salli Journalism Prize (for the Shakespeare Project working group) 2006

Awards received by Finnish translations edited by Alice Martin:
The Mikael Agricola Prize:
1995 Henry Fielding: Tom Jones, translated by Marja Alopaeus
1999 Laurence Sterne: Tristram Shandy - elämä ja mielipiteet (The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman), translated by Kersti Juva
2003 Anselm Hollo: Corvus, translated by Kai Nieminen

Finnish State Prize for Literature/ Finnish State Prize for Finnish Translators:
1990 Tatjana Tolstaja: Tulta ja pölyä (On the Golden Porch), translated from the Russian by Marja Koskinen
2004 Jaan Kross: Uppiniskaisuuden kronikka (Kolme katku vahel) translated from the Estonian by Kaisu Lahikainen and Jouko Vanhanen
2007 William Shakespeare: Macbeth, Rikhard III (Richard III), Juhannusyön uni (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Henrik VI, kolmas osa, (Henry VI, Part 3) translated by Matti Rossi
2009 J. L. Runeberg: Vänrikki Stålin tarinat (The Tales of Ensign Stål), translated from the Swedish by Juhani Lindholm
2011 Anne Michaels: Routaholvi (The Winter Vault), translated by Kaijamari Sivill

The Kääntäjäkarhu Prize for poetry translation awarded by The Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE):
2003 Anselm Hollo: Corvus, translated by Kai Nieminen
2006 Zbigniew Herbert: Kyynelten teknologiasta, translated from the Polish by Jussi Rosti
2007 J. L. Runeberg: Vänrikki Stålin tarinat, (The Tales of Ensign Stål), translated from the Swedish by Juhani Lindholm

Photo: Mika Federley
Written by Tomas Sjöblom
Translated by Matthew Billington

Future prospects

Alice Martin is keen to uphold the Werner Söderström Corporation’s tradition for quality translations.

“I remain committed to WSOY, although it has changed enormously over the years. Translation quality is something I take personally, as is the fair treatment of translators. I try to provide a haven of sorts at least for the translators with whom I work, though the room for manoeuvre has been getting narrower and narrower. For example, we haven’t published any poetry translations at all for a few years. Nevertheless, I’m content in my habitat as long as I can work with Finland’s top translators, editing translations of works by the likes of Cormac McCarthy.”

Photo: Mika Federley

Martin would like people to regard books and reading with respect and not to lose sight of the joy they bring.

“I'd like people to remember that a book is a quiet room which you enter in solitude to read and experience great things. Humble on the outside and thrilling inside. It doesn’t clamour for attention and still it connects us with other people."

“For your language and your grasp of it to thrive, it's important to read in your own language. Although the Finnish language is doing well at present, its wellbeing can’t be taken for granted. Readers are entitled to demand quality; doing so is a way of striking a blow for your mother tongue.”

Martin hopes to be able to continue translating into Finnish.

“There are a few classic English poets I've had the chance to work on a little and whom we absolutely need to get more of. Poetry, including translated poetry, is a potent medicine that we human beings need.”

The year 2015 is one of celebration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, published in England 150 years ago, and one of the books Martin has translated. In November (November 23, 2015) Martin is organising a “150 years in Wonderland” evening at the Rikhardinkatu library in Helsinki.

Photo: WSOY


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