To minorize a language: Translating Deleuze from French to Finnish

By Anna Helle | this article is available in pdf

Works of Gilles Deleuze have been translated to many languages. One of them is a small North-European language called Finnish. Despite of Finland’s distant location up in the North the first Finnish Deleuze translation was published as early as in 1984. It was Deleuze’s “Pensée nomade”, translated by Jussi Vähämäki and published in a student magazine called Aviisi (Deleuze 1984). There were also a few other short Deleuze translations in the 1980s but the Finnish speaking readers had to wait until the 1990s to be able to read whole works by Deleuze in their mother tongue. The first Finnish Deleuze book was Deleuze’s and Félix Guattari’s Qu’est-ce que la philosophie?, translated by Leevi Lehto. […] One might ask why should anybody bother translating Deleuze into such a small language like Finnish. The number of potential readers is relatively small while the work that a translation requires is huge. There are about 5 million Finnish speaking Finns of which only a tiny minority is interested in the Deleuze kind of philosophy. Moreover, the scholars interested in Deleuze read the works mainly in English but also in French. Consequently, it is chiefly for the students and for an especially enlightened audience that the Finnish Deleuze translations are designated… [This article is available in pdf.]

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