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Andrew Chesterman

Andrew Peter Clement Chesterman
Born October 6th 1946, London.

Doctor of Philosophy (Linguistics), University of Reading 1988
Master of Letters (Applied Linguistics), University of Edinburgh 1973
Bachelor of Arts (Modern Languages), University of Cambridge 1968

Professor of Multilingual Communication 2002–2010, University of Helsinki

Associate Professor of Translation Theory 1996–2000, University of Helsinki
Lecturer in English 1973–1996, University of Helsinki

Research interests:
Applied linguistics, contrastive analysis, translation theory, research methodology, memes in translation theory.

Recent publications, projects and other scientific activities

CETRA Professor 1999 (Catholic University of Leuven)
Executive Board member, European Society for Translation Studies (EST) 1998–2004.
Scientific Advisory Board member, Center of Translation Studies, University of Vienna (2007–2010)

Prizes and Awards
Knight of the Order of the White Rose, First Class 2008
Member of the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters 2005–
International Teacher of the Year 2005, Helsinki University Student Union.
Honorary Doctorate 2001, Copenhagen Business School, 2001.
Teacher of the year” 2000, Helsinki University Vantaa Institute for Continuing Education.

Written by Andrew Chesterman (ed. Tomas Sjöblom)
Image: Andrew Chesterman.

“Chair Theory”

Lecturing on translation theory, I quickly realized that the students had either a very negative concept of what a theory could be, or no concept at all. So I started by discussing the notion of theory itself: I asked them to imagine that the course was really about “Chair Theory”. What would they expect the lectures to be about?

This rapidly led to an animated discussion, and they soon got the idea. How to make a chair? The ideal chair? Chairs through history? Different kinds of chairs? Difficulty of defining the differences between chairs, stools, seats and benches? Special chairs? Good and bad chairs? Ethics of chair usage? Cultural differences in chair style? ... It became quite fun, especially when late-comers arrived to see “CHAIR THEORY” on the screen and wondered whether they were in the wrong room...

Van Gogh’s Chair: A good chair, or a bad one? Image: WikimediaCommons/National Gallery UK.​
Van Gogh’s Chair: A good chair, or a bad one? Image: WikimediaCommons/National Gallery UK.​


For more on how Chesterman came to be a teacher at the University of Helsinki, see this article by Kimmo Luukkonen.

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