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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

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.

The finalised dictionary has 5,000 entries organised from 30 subject fields. The dictionary is based on concept analysis, drawing on terminological and specialist subject expertise. The former was provided by the team which, beside myself, included Professor Aleksandr Gerd from St Petersburg (the dictionary’s co-editor), Irina Kudasheva MA and Igor Kudashev Phil.Lic., who also developed the dedicated software MyTeRMs for the project. Written sources aside, we were able to tap into the expert knowledge of 21 Finnish and 21 Russian specialists working in environmental and silvicultural areas.

The dictionary includes

  • Finnish terms and their Russian equivalents
  • Definitions of Finnish concepts and explanatory notes.
  • References for terms, definitions, explanatory notes and equivalents
  • Information on whether the Russian equivalent is a natural one, i.e. a term used by Russian specialists, or whether it was coined to give a name to the Finnish concept.
  • Information about the degree of equivalence between Russian and Finnish, and differences between Russian and Finnish concepts.
  • About 700 concept diagrams and a Russian-Finnish index.

The issues that arose during the project, together with their solutions, are dealt with in Igor Kudashev’s 2007 doctoral thesis Proektirovanie perevodšeskih slovarej special´noj leksiki  (‘The compilation of specialist glossaries intended for translators’). The principles according to which the work is compiled are explained both in the dictionaqry itself as well as in a separate 2009 publication Puusta katsoen (‘Seeing the wood for the trees’). In 2008, we were presented with the  International Award for Applied Terminology Research and Development for the best achievement in Applied Terminology.


The Finnish-Russian forestry dictionary team on an outing. From the left: Aleksandr Gerd, Igor Kudashev and Inkeri Vehmas-Lehto. Photo by Irina Kudasheva​​
The Finnish-Russian forestry dictionary team on an outing. From the left: Aleksandr Gerd, Igor Kudashev and Inkeri Vehmas-Lehto. Photo by Irina Kudasheva​​

Translated by John Calton

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