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Päivi Koivisto-Alanko

Päivi Ulla Katariina Koivisto-Alanko
Born August 9, 1969, Helsinki

BA 1993 (English Philology), PhD 2000, University of Helsinki
Erasmus exchange at Cambridge University 1993

Literature translation manager 2001-, Tammi Publishers
Literature translation editor 2001–2011 (Shakespeare project 2003–10), WSOY
PhD candidate 2000–2001, Department of English, University of Helsinki
Lexicographer 1995–2000, WSOY
EU intern 1994, terminology unit, translation services
Research assistant 1993–1994, Department of English, University of Helsinki

Articles on the history of English semantics, dissertation and a camping guide

Salli Journalism Prize for the Shakespeare Project Work Group 2006

Photo: Mika Federley
Written by Päivi Alanko-Koivisto and Tomas Sjöblom (ed.)
Translated by
Joe McVeigh

A job that matches your education

The most astonishing aspect of my career is that I managed to get a job that corresponds with my education as a language historian outside the university. The WSOY publishing house Shakespeare project (2004-2013), which made new Finnish translations of all of the playwright’s works, had a big influence on our professional identities as publishers. We had the opportunity to learn entirely new things, read and become familiar with the texts, think and grow. The difference between theory and practice was demonstrated yet again: although my doctoral dissertation focussed on Early Modern English, one can say I only really learned the language when editing the Shakespeare translations.

A selection of the new translations of Shakespeare’s works published by WSOY. Book covers: WSOY.​
A selection of the new translations of Shakespeare’s works published by WSOY. Book covers: WSOY.​

Publishers do not usually have favourite authors, but Shakespeare is incomparable to any. The obsession with Tolkien I had in my childhood and teenage years made me a language historian, while the opportunity to immerse myself in the language of Shakespeare opened up entirely new worlds. Language cannot live in a void, but everything is always part of a context. Shakespeare is primarily written for the stage, although his plays have become world literature over the years, and many difficult parts in the text only show their true meanings when one remembers to think how it would be performed on stage. At the same time, the past awakens, and we begin to understand how people lived and thought.

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