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Voices of Translation: Rewriting Literary Texts in a Scandinavian Context (completed)

This project will begin to identify and foreground the "voices" of Scandinavian literary translations.

About the project

Though translation is vital in a globalized world, it remains poorly understood. Most readers still read translations as texts produced solely by the author, although Translation Studies (TS) has shown that translators are creative co-writers. In ten related case studies and two conceptual essays, this project will begin to identify and foreground the "voices" of Scandinavian literary translations: both the rewritten intra-textual voices (e.g. implied author, narrators and characters) and the rewriting extra-textual voices (i.e., the interactive network of translators, copy editors, general managers, committee members, critics, authors, etc., who are directly or indirectly responsible for the translations).

We will combine text and agent analysis. By comparing translations in different Scandinavian languages, we will bring to light alterations (shifts) that are not linguistically imposed and will hypothesize both their motivation and their effect on the reader.

We will furthermore map the agent interactions responsible for the alterations, examine reviews and reader blogs, and invite practitioners to reflect on their choices and confront them with our hypotheses.

Our mode of analyzing will be replicable, allowing future researchers to map interactions between agents (power mechanisms), to interpret the discursive traces of these interactions, and to understand if/how readers may perceive/interpret these discursive traces.


 1. To demonstrate how intra-textual voices (implied author, narrator and character) are altered when literary texts are translated

2. To show that such voice alterations are produced by the interaction of various agents in a network of translation professionals (translators, authors, publishers, critics, etc.)

3. To demonstrate that some (but not all) voice alterations are visible even if only the translation is read

4. To generate new empirical knowledge on literary translation and translation professionals in Scandinavia (Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland)


The project is coordinated by Cecilia Alvstad. It has been developed within the frames of the research group Voice in Translation. The project period runs from December 2012 to April 2017.


The project is co-financed by The Research Council of Norway (FRIPRO) and The Faculty of Humanities, University of Oslo.


  • The University of Bergen
  • NTNU, Trondheim
  • The University of Helsinki
  • The University of Copenhagen
Tags: Translation Studies, Comparative literature, Narratology, History of the Book, Literary Reception
Published Mar. 2, 2013 11:08 AM - Last modified Jan. 11, 2019 3:34 PM