Authenticity, Boundaries, and Hybridity: Translating “Migrant and Minority Literature” from Swedish into Finnish


  • Simo Määttä University of Helsinki



Minority Literatures, Migrant Writing, Swedish Language, Finnish Language, Focalization, Polyphony, Dialect, Sociolect


This article analyzes the representation of linguistic variation in the Finnish translations of four Swedish coming-of-age stories depicting migrant or minority perspectives: Mikael Niemi’s 2000 Popular Music from Vittula, Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s 2003 Ett öga rött, Marjaneh Bakhtiari’s 2005 Kalla det vad fan du vill, and Susanna Alakoski’s 2006 Svinalängorna. Through an analysis of speech and thought representation techniques and focalization, the article explores the role played by literature and translation in the materialization of dialects and sociolects as bounded entities. The paper argues that linguistic and social hybridity, on which the reception of minority and migrant literatures often focuses, is accompanied by the reification of new varieties conceived as authentic expressions of migrant and minority experience. Literature and translation are active agents in such processes, which are largely based on cultural, discursive, and cognitive constraints that condition the interpretation of each text.