Inkeri Vehmas-Thesslund
Humanist of the day

Inkeri Vehmas-Thesslund

Inkeri Vehmas-Thesslund (formerly Vehmas-Lehto), Professor Emerita of Russian Translation, has been and still is a firm friend of translation teaching. Her doctoral thesis, entitled Quasi-Correctness (1989), was among the world’s first in translation studies to follow empirical methods. She was the University of Helsinki’s first (and hopefully not last) professor of Russian Translation. Her research has focused on translation and terminology.

Inkeri Vehmas-Thesslund

Inkeri Vehmas-Thesslund (Vehmas-Lehto between 1978 and 2014)
Born 15 May, 1947, Keuruu

Master of Arts, 1973, Licentiate of Philosophy, 1988 and Doctor of Philosophy, 1989 (Russian Language and Literature), University of Helsinki

Professor of Russian Translation, 1998–2014, University of Helsinki

Docent, Russian Language, specialising in translation and terminological research, University of Jyväskylä, 2006
Acting Professor of Russian, University of Jyväskylä, 2005–06
Researcher, Academy of Finland 2003–04

Acting Professor, Language Theory and Translation, 1991–92; Associate Professor, Russian (translation) 1990–98 and Professor 1998–2011, University of Helsinki; Lecturer in Russian 1974–90, Kouvola Language Institute/University of Helsinki; acting Associate Professor, Russian (translation), 1987–88, University of Eastern Finland.

Research interests: Translation studies from a pragmatic standpoint:modulating translations in order to make them understandable and acceptable for their new receptors; concept analysis and preparation of specialist glossaries.

Publications, research projects and other academic activities

Photo: Mika Federley
Author: Inkeri Vehmas-Thesslund, Kaija Hartikainen (ed.)
Translated by John Calton

The Finnish-Russian Glossary of Forestry Terms (2008) was a large-scale project whose planning, funding and editing took altogether 12 years. Initially undergraduate students took part - in itself quite unusual for the arts faculty, but the work, funded by the EU’s Interreg, began in earnest in 2003. The project was administered by the Kouvola unit of Palmenia. The book was published by Metsäkustannus, the silviculture publisher.

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I’ve always considered administration to be a necessary evil, a distraction from the ‘real’ work. However it has been impossible to avoid. The most hectic period was 1991 to 1994 when I was head of the Kouvola translator training institute. The former military barracks in Kouvola had been wonderfully refurbished for us, but immediately after the official opening the University decided it wanted to close us down because, in their view, we were surplus to requirements. In 1992 the competition was won with the help of a nationwide campaign.

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My dreams have come true. I have a family, which includes my nearly five-year-old granddaughter Heta. And I’ve got remarried to a man I christened Prince the moment I set eyes on him. Now I’m retired I have the chance to do just what I want: I sing in a…

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