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Erja Tenhonen-Lightfoot

Erja Aulikki Tenhonen-Lightfoot
Born 8.12.1960, Tohmajärvi

Näyttötutkintomestari (Course for those working with competence-based qualifications) 2011, Hame University of Applied Sciences
Conference interpreter 1997, University of Turku
Licentiate (applied linguistics) 1993, University of Vaasa
Master of Arts (translation and interpreting) 1988, University of Joensuu

University teacher of interpretation 2011–, University of Helsinki
Part-time teacher of interpreting and translation 1997–2011, University of Helsinki
Chief examiner of competence-based qualifications for community interpreters 2010–, Amiedu/ Tampere Adult Education Centre
Lecturer of interpretation 2003–06, University of Helsinki/ Palmenia
Coordinator of the project Passiivisuomi 1995–96, University of Helsinki/ Vantaa Institute for Continuing Education
Project researcher in applied linguistics 1990–92, Academy of Finland/ University of Vaasa

Entrepreneur 2002–, Sanas interpreting services
Freelance legal interpreter in district courts and courts of appeal 2002–
Entrepreneur and coordinating interpreter 1998–2002, Cross Border Communications Oy
Freelance conference interpreter in every organ of the EU

Photo: Johanna Hirvonen
Written by Tomas Sjöblom
Translated by Matthew Billington

My best memories from the University of Helsinki

“I have lots of great memories. I have always had many great courses and great students. One year we had a course on 'preparing for interpreting'. I asked the students if they'd like to do improvisation in the next class. The students were all for improvisation. So as an assignment I set them to think of one thing that they found amusing or annoying. In the following class we started with an overview of how to write song lyrics and we analysed one song, a modern Finnish ballad.

“After completing the song analysis, I asked the students to take the one amusing or annoying thing they had thought of and write a song about it according to the principles we had just learned. We had two hours, and everyone finished their assignment. For the class after that, two of the students had composed melodies for their songs and they performed them, accompanying themselves on the Finnish zither and guitar. That was really awesome! It was also useful, because when working as an interpreter you also need the same kind of creativity that is required in writing poetry or song lyrics.”

Raekoja turg, City Hall Square in Tartu, May 2015. From the left Hanna Pippuri, Juha-Matti Aronen, Niina Kekki, and Kristiina Praakli. Niina is interpreting Juha-Matti's guided tour.


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