HomeArts & EntertainmentBooksInt’l Translation Day: Finnish author says not all is lost in translation!

Int’l Translation Day: Finnish author says not all is lost in translation!

“There are only five million Finnish speakers in the entire world. So, if I aim to have any international audience, I need to have my books translated,” asserts author Antti Tuomainen, whose books have been translated into more than 25 languages over the three decades that he has been acing the Scandinavian crime genre. On account of International Translation Day (September 30), the Finnish writer talks about the need for translation, and more.

Tuomainen, who was recently in Delhi, says he feels fortunate to get his books translated in English by David Hackston. “He is wonderful!” This is what also transpired his book, The Rabbit Factor, getting picked for a Hollwood film starring American actor Steve Carell. Tuomainen recalls, “I had read the English translation and made some comments on it. But overall is was a very good one, which is a good thing because sometimes they (other translators) use the English text as a base for languages that don’t have like a translator straight from the Finnish. So, translation is absolutely crucial.”

“There’s a second version of the script being written as we speak,” adds the Helsinki-based author, speaking about his work that’s getting adapted for the screen. But, is he okay with the additions and subtractions that the original story meets at the hands of cinematic writers? “I was 18 when I decided or knew that I would be a writer one day, and I published my first book when I was 34. So, it took me 16 years from that, and I’m now 51, sitting on a couch talking about The Rabbit Factor being made into a film… I’m in two minds about the whole (adaption) thing. First of all, I like to be involved as much as I can in sort of trying to influence who is involved in the project, but after that I’m fine with whatever they do, because it’s a different art form. A book is vastly different from a film, and they have to do moderations to adapt certain things in a way that I wouldn’t think of. So I’m fine with that (changes). When I know that there are very good people involved, they’re free to do what they want.”

On his trip to Delhi, to attend the Long Night of LiteratureS — which was long pending to resume in the Capital, due to the pandemic — Tuomainen took to absorbing the city’s vibe. “I visited India in 1994, but didn’t visit Delhi then…I’m from Helsinki, which is a very small city; sometimes you walk down the street and there’s no one. But here, in Delhi, there are people everywhere (smiles),” he says adding, “What I love about India is the spicy food.” Hope he gets to return soon to savour some more of it!

Author tweets @HennaRakheja

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