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Kristiina Rikman

Born November 23, 1947

Bachelor of Arts (Finnish, Finnish Literature, Phonetics), University of Helsinki

Freelance Translator specialising in literature, 1972-
Teacher of Finnish Translation, University of Helsinki, 1981-1989

Finnish translator of children’s and young adults’ fiction, detective novels, travel guides, non-fiction, and contemporary novels from the Swedish and English for various publishers.

Positions of trust
Board member, Finnish Association of Translators and Interpreters (SKTL), 1992-1993
Chair, literary branch of SKTL, 1993-1995
Chair, SKTL, 1996-8 and 1998-1999
Board member, Forum Artis Registered Company, 1994-1995, 1996-1997; Deputy Chair, 1997-1998.
Ministry of Education, Taisto II Commission, 1999
Deputy Chair, Arts Promotion Centre, 2001-3, 2004-2006
Member of Panel of Judges, Finlandia Prize, 2011

Awards and Honours
Pro Finlandia Medal, 2014
Erkki Reenpää Prize for Translation, 2012
SKTL, Gold Award, 2000
SKTL, Silver Award, 1990
Artist’s Pension, 2008
WSOY Publishers, Translation Award, 2004
Bursary from City of Helsinki
Bursary from Finnish Cultural Foundation, 1982, 1988, 1998, 2000, 2006 and 2008
State five year Artist Bursary, 2001-5
State three-year Artist Bursary, 1984-1986 and 1995-1997
State one-year Artist Bursary, 1981 and 1992
State Award, 1981 and 2008

Photo: Riitta Virtasalmi
Written by Kristiina Rikman (Tero Juutilainen ed.)
Translated by John Calton

Working in a professional association and raising the translator’s profile

I have done my best to raise the profile of the body of translators through active involvement in the association representing their interests. In my capacity as President of the Finnish Association of Translators and Interpreters I banged the gavel for two seasons and for longer stints still in the 1990s sat on the board of the co-operative Forum Artis, representing the interests of a number of artists. At the beginning of the century I represented the Finnish translators as vice-chair on the state literature council for six years, and for my part had a say in the regular inclusion of translators in the bidding for the long artists’ bursaries.

Working on the arts council had its rewards: it offered a ringside seat on the entire field of Finnish as well as translated writing! Making comparative assessments certainly was a strain, and I often had a migraine following the meeting. In recent years I have been active in Sanasto, ensuring that the library loan compensation payments reach the generally agreed amounts for the Nordic region; I am presently on the board of Sanasto as a deputy member.

And now I am enjoying my “artist’s pension”, but work has been such an essential part of who I am that I can’t give it up yet. Besides, John Irving obliged me on his last visit to “outlive him”, so all of his works will have to be translated.


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