Finnish Literature Day

Finnish Literature Day was held on May 6th at Saima Park at 2.p.m. 


Dr. Richard Impola, a member of the Finnish Translators Association was the guest speaker for this event.

Dr. Richard Impola holds a PhD in English Literature from Columbia University and has taught at the Michigan Technological University and the State University of New York, College at New Paltz.  On retirement, he began translating Finnish literature and has four novels and other translations to his credit.

Also attending the Finnish Literature Day program was Esko Aho, prime minister of Finland 1991-95 and Centre Party candidate for president of Finland in the 2000 election.  Since last fall, Aho has been an adjunct lecturer at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where he leads a weekly study group on the European Union and its political and economic implications for global relations.


Standing beside The Finnish Center's Oskari Tokoi monument we see the former prime minister of Finland, Esko Aho, his lovely wife Kirsti, and our treasured member Sirkka Linna Höglund.  Sirkka is the artist that sculptured and cast the bronze likeness of Oskari Tokoi seen on the monument.

Esko's opening address emphasized the need to accurately chronicle the history of the Finnish people in America, not only for the U.S. readers but, just as important, to tell the story to those back home in Finland as they are intensely interested in the paths of those who left so long ago. 

We are honored and grateful to have Esko share his visionary thoughts with us on Finnish Literature Day.

To read more about Oskari Tokoi, click here.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Richard Impola, is seen arriving at The Finnish Center carrying a box with books that he has translated to English.

Dr. Impola's talk first touched upon how he became a translator of the Finnish language and then quickly moved to the heart of his discussion; the complex technical problems encountered in his work.  Among the pitfalls that beset any translator of Finnish to English is the overwhelming number of word endings in the Finnish language which completely change the meaning and even the sentence structure that they're used in.  The speaker then addressed the way American novels, universally driven by plot, compare to the Finnish counterparts which are reality based and do not employ the twists and turns with surprise endings that we are all so familiar with.  Dr. Impola ended his talk with some humorous anecdotes of how those of other languages finally come to the realization that the Finnish language is, indeed, exceptionally rich.

The listeners now have a better appreciation for the valuable contribution that Dr. Richard Impola has made to the English readership.  We look forward to hearing him again.

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