Tomas Danestad: “In Sweden, Translators and Interpreters are Authorised by a Government Agency”

Tomas Danestad: “In Sweden, Translators and Interpreters are Authorised by a Government Agency”

On January 21, Afag Masud met with Tomas Danestad, Chargé d'affaires of the Embassy of Sweden in Azerbaijan.

After welcoming the diplomat, Director of the Translation Centre under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Azerbaijan Republic (AzTC) gave a brief information about the Translation Centre as well as literary examples translated from Swedish Literature: “AzTC has translated and published into Azerbaijani works by Pär Lagerkvist, Nobel prize winners Selma Lagerlöf and Tomas Tranströmer, and Margareta Ekström,” she underlined. “This year we are planning to translate and publish works by famous Swedish novelist August Strindberg and talented film director Ingmar Bergman, as well as a book of interviews tilted "Bergman on Bergman" dealing with the tricks of stage direction, that would be of particular importance for the department of general stage management at the Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Arts.”

Afag Masud went on to speak of her impressions from the participation at the International Book Fair held in the Swedish city of Göteborg in September 2014: "Along with other indelible events, I was moved by Swedish language and literature as a writer. For the Swedes, national literature is almost a divinity. Such a sacred attitude to own literature is pervasive in every part of your country resembling a literature museum: on board aircrafts with portraits of Swedish writers and poets, in streets and avenues of the city, on walls of the buildings. It primarily speaks about the spiritual richness of the Swedish people, a striking love for literature arising from the high level of awareness which are uncommon in most countries.”

Later on, AzTC Director focused on the issue of Swedish language teaching at Azerbaijani universities. "We are interested in Swedish language teaching in our country. This would help strengthen ties between the two countries and peoples, and facilitate the sharing of experience in literary and cultural spheres. We want the literary community in Sweden to get acquainted with Azerbaijani treasure-house of literature. I believe that the Swedish Embassy, Azerbaijan University of Languages, and ADA, should be involved in Swedish language teaching in Azerbaijan. There is a need to seek financial support for this project, to determine a common concept and to develop a curriculum."

Mr Thomas Danestad, in turn, thanked for the invitation and expressed his feelings about the translation industry, as well as the normative acts regulating the translation sphere. "In Sweden, translators and interpreters receive their authorization from a government agency or chamber," he said. "The authorizations are valid for five years and are issued to translate from one language to another only, for example, from Swedish into English, or from German into Swedish. In 2005, the Swedish Parliament adopted a policy to protect the identity and development of the Swedish language. This policy is of great importance amid the increasing influence of the English language in the country as well as the influx of immigrants into Sweden. To this end, a targeted language policy is needed. Here, primary emphasis is placed upon democratic values and preserving the status of Swedish as a functioning official language in all spheres of society.”

The Swedish diplomat also pointed to the cooperation with the AzTC in areas of language, education and translation, and future promising projects: "The Swedish Translation Chamber, the Swedish Language Council, as well as other relevant organizations dealing with language and translation can help you in the areas of translation management as well as the cultivation of your mother tongue. I hope that our cooperation has a positive impact on the cultural life of our countries," he concluded.