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Bruce Thomson

Having recently completed an MA (Hons) degree in Scandinavian Studies, Bruce has gone on to win an Emerging Translator Mentorship funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy.

Name

Bruce Thomson

Degree 

Scandinavian Studies

Year of Graduation 2017
Bruce Thomson

Why did you choose the University of Edinburgh?  

I originally intended to study linguistics at Edinburgh, and thought it would be nice to combine this degree with a language. So I attended a languages fair and was told of the wacky world of Scandinavia, where trolls, brown cheese and social welfare ran rampant. I was hooked!

Funnily enough, I loved how the department was so small. This not only meant that we all knew one another and developed friendships whilst we studied, but it also felt like all the different subjects of Scandinavian Studies were at our fingertips - jumping from literature to Vikings to contemporary Norwegian affairs was all in a day’s work.

Edinburgh is only ever a stone’s throw from green hills or roaring bodies of water. As someone who loves spending time in the great outdoors, these natural features were essential to enjoying my time there.

Tell us about your experiences since leaving the University

I am now based in the small town of Wells-Next-The-Sea in Norfolk.  I work as a freelance literary translator, translating texts from Norwegian into English, and was recently announced as an Emerging Translator Mentorship winner as part of an annual programme run by the Writers’ Centre Norwich.

The highly prestigious programme was established by writer, editor and translator, Daniel Hahn, to develop successive new cohorts of literary translators into English, particularly for languages whose literature is currently under-represented in English translation.

The end goal is for emerging translators to establish themselves and make their voices heard within the profession. Funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy, I will be working one-on-one with the great Don Bartlett, who has translated works by (among other authors) Jo Nesbo, Gunnar Staalesen, Roy Jacobsen and Karl Ove Knausgaard.

 

Edinburgh is only ever a stone’s throw from green hills or roaring bodies of water. As someone who loves spending time in the great outdoors, these natural features were essential to enjoying my time there.

Bruce Thomson

Alumni wisdom

Heed advice. It was a tutor at LLC who recommended that, as an emerging translator, I should simply start sending emails to Norwegian literary agencies, asking whether they had any samples or catalogue texts needing to be translated."

“I did so, and subsequently received a great deal of positive feedback. Before I knew it, I was a translator."

The networks I built during my time at Edinburgh, and my volunteering, have proved crucial in finding jobs, allowing me to stay in Scotland.