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Finnish translation

Page history last edited by PBworks 18 years, 1 month ago

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Finnish "Translation"


The Finnish "translations" of the ELotH:TES are a source of great interest to a few Braheists who insist that Brahe actually wrote several original volumes in Finnish to escape the meddling influence of censors and his publishers. Their argument rests largely on three points:


(1) Brahe is shown with his arm around the Finnish exchange student, Eveliina Häkkinen, twice in his High School Yearbook, leading to speculation that he learned Finnish and may have gone into hiding in Finland.


While he may not be hiding there today, Brahe is known to have visited Häkkinen at the University of Kuopio on several occasions during the late 90s. Häkkinen herself is a tenured professor at Kuopio, specializing in the narrative structure and rhetoric of myth. She is among the foremost exponents of the concept of Epicness. She frequently cites the Elemenstor saga obliquely in her own writings, suggesting that she is both intimately familiar with them and also intentionally trying to keep them at a distance.


(2) Some of the Finnish "translations" appear to pre-date their American issue.


Furthermore, the Finnish version of Book 10 omits the Shyriiwook phrases and instead uses a highly plausible form of Proto-Uralic, which may in turn be an homage to the culture that would eventually produce the Kalevala and modern Finnish languages.


(3) The Finnish volumes are said to be far more cohesive in parts, especially toward the end of the series.


This is particularly true of the Hierarch Wars, generally recognized by fans of the series as the most complex and challenging (and rewarding!) part of the cycle. Even the Finnish version of Book 5 is uneven and bland, but it is still far superior to the English-language version of that same book. Notable also is the absence of a pre-dated Finnish version of the 13th volume, adding weight to the argument that the entire Hierarch Wars were concieved of in their entirety in Finnish initially.


There are, furthermore, countless allusions to subjects that Finnish audiences would immediately recognize: The Winter and Lapland Wars, the Lapua Movement, and "Perkele"--veiled references to these permeate the various books. See Book 11 for some examples.


Does anyone here know enough Finnish to investigate these claims and complete this article?


I was first introduced to ELotH:TES in the Finnish version. I was under the impression that it was second only to the Kalevala as great Finnish literature, thinking that Brahe sat with Sibellius as a great Finnish contributors to the arts. I remember being struck by the development of Brahe's style and voice over the course of the series. After first reading the Finnish, the end of the series as put forth in the English version seems a poorly remembered paraphrase of the elegant - nay, Epic - saga I had come to love.


I attributed his clumsiness in the first few books to Brahe finding his voice, but perhaps those first few books are clumsily translated from original English texts. It is quite evident to anyone who has read the Finnish that, starting with Book 10, the English versions pale in comparison. Perhaps Brahe switched languages after his misguided decision to allow co-authoring on Book 9. At any rate, I doubt that Brahe authorized the English translations, and believe that they were simply commissioned by fans of the series.


To be taught Finnish by an exchange student, and to grasp it with such style and vigor, Brahe must be a linguistic genious. I spent two years studying the language, immersed in it while I lived in Kuopio, Hyvinkää, Pori, and Oulu, and do not have the power to wield it with Brahe's elegance. In fact, I only became able to appreciate Brahe's brilliant use of Finnish after arduously studying his works, and comparing to the mangled English. He uses local dialects to add flavor to his characters. Rereading Book 10 while I lived in Kuopio I realized that much of Guddboy Lad's indecipherable speech is in fact simply presented in the Savolainen dialect, which fact the translators to the English missed entirely. It is sad to see this well-developed and well-spoken character presented as a raving madman due to mistranslation. -Masennus

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