Norwegian prize given to Mosquitoland

Praise for translation of bestselling American young adult novel


M. Michael Brady
Asker, Norway

One of the major events of the literary year in Norway is the celebration of International Translation Day on or near Sept. 30, the feast day of Saint Hieronymus, Hieronymusfeiringen (Hieronymus Celebration), named for the saint who first translated the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into Latin. Hieronymus is the Latin form of the Ancient Greek name Hierónymos that is used in many languages, including Norwegian; it corresponds to the English name Jerome.

The Hieronymus Celebration in Oslo on the evening of Sept. 29 featured annual awards by four organizations dealing with translation from and into Norwegian. The news for Norwegian Americans this year is that the prestigious Bastian Prize for translated books for young readers, awarded by Oversetterforeningen (The Norwegian Association of Literary Translators), went to translator Stian Omland for a translation into Norwegian Bokmål of American writer David Arnold’s 2015 best-selling debut novel Mosquitoland.

The award panel’s justification of the award to translator Omland was straightforward: Med stor dyktighet og presisjon tar oversetteren trofast vare på mye av det innforstått erkeamerikanske i originalteksten, samtidig som bokas mer avanserte, kulturelle referanser blir oppfinnsomt hjemliggjort til det norsk-gjenkjennelige. (With skill and precision, the translator has faithfully replicated much of the veritable American vernacular of the original text, while brilliantly transcribing the book’s more advanced, cultural references into familiar equivalents in contemporary Norwegian.)

Moreover, save for the language of the text on it, the cover of the Norwegian translation is identical to the cover of the original American book. This, then, might rank Myggland / Mosquitoland as the Norwegian-American book of the year.

The book: Mygglandet by David Arnold, translated into Norwegian Bokmål by Stian Omland, Oslo, 2015, Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 384 pages hardcover, ISBN 9788205467149.

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 7, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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