Here is a sampling of some of the many technical translations I have made from Scandinavian languages — Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian. Technical in this case means concerning handcraft, which is one of my non-fiction specialties. I am always open for translation work, which I enjoy greatly and do, I think, quickly and well. Contact me about your project.
I would especially be interested in translating children’s books or novels for young people or adults. As well as the books shown here, I've translated a wild assortment of short pieces — acquiring new English terminologies with each — from a translation of the Danish postal regulations, an inventory of Danish military vehicles, and an article on the advantages of concrete railroad ties to books on DIY bras and uses for dandelion greens.
Because I am first a journalist and an academic, my translations are generally concise and articulate in solidly well-written American English. I have little experience translating from the closely related Faroese or Icelandic languages but would have dictionaries to carry me through. Finnish is out of my area. Contact me with the project you’re interested in seeing translated.
Viking Patterns for Knitting from Swedish Vikingamönster i Stickat by Elsebeth Lavold. I was approached by Trafalgar Square Publishing in Vermont to translate this elegant book of entirely new knitting techniques. Knitting came to Europe somewhat after the Viking period, so again, until Elsebet began her work there were neither techniques nor terminology for knitting Viking designs, which tend to short rounded motifs rather than long, Aran-like panels of cables. The author’s careful archeological research and technical experimentation puts my own knitting research in the shadows. The motifs themselves are muscular and bold against a purled background. I felt myself a pioneer in bringing her techniques to the English-speaking world.
Twined Knitting: a Swedish folkcraft technique, from Swedish Tvåändsstickat: vackert, slitstarkt, varmt by Birgitta Dandanell and Ulla Danielsson of Dalarnas Museum. I brought the book home with me from a visit to Sweden and offered to translate it for Interweave Press. Twined knitting was a revival of an old form of knitting in the mountains of Sweden and Norway and had never been described or noticed in English speaking countries. There was no English terminology for it, so I had to invent one — particularly for the impossible-to-type word tvåändssticking (I had to retype that three times just now to get it right), which means “two-end knitting” and is not descriptive of the process. The terminology I settled on after learning the technique and comparing translations to other languages has been taken into general usage in the English-speaking knitting world. Again: super fun.
Easy Style: Sewing the new classics, from Danish Nyt Tøj by Elsebeth Gynther. This was one of my first handcraft book-length translations for Sterling/Lark books. I was a bit scared of it, because although I sewed a lot, I felt I was short on dressmaking terminology. Lark’s editor, Carol Taylor, said to plunge in and they would work out terminology problems. Easy Style was also my first translation on my then new Mac 512K computer. I was thrilled to be able to translate without raising my eyes from the book every few words, correcting typos and cleaning up translation after each page. I made the mistake of putting all the text on a single document. After 250 pages on the same document, entry slowed and the document crashed, destroying all 250 pages. Curiously, because it was fresh in my mind, I was able to start over, keying as fast as I could, and remembering what I had written before.
Scraps: An Inspiratonal Field Guide to Colllage. Elsebet apparently liked my translation of Easy Style, and when later she had a new book with Christine Clemmensen, Scraps: et kursus i små mirakler, she requested me as a translator. The book, published by Sterling/Lark came out on the crest of the scrapbooking wave as Scraps: an inspirational field guide to collage. It was an enormously fun book to translate, full of whimsy and inventive collage materials and techniques.
Happy Hats and Cool Caps, from Danish Huer og Hatte til børn og voksne by Anne-Mette Hermansen and Tina Elnef. Sterling/Lark contacted me to translate this cute and quick little book of sewn hats and caps. I learned how to measure and sew hats as I translated!
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