Stockholms universitet logo, länk till startsida

Elin SvahnUniversitetslektor

Om mig

Jag är lektor i översättningsvetenskap vid Tolk- och översättarinstitutet vid Institutionen för svenska och flerspråkighet, Stockholms universitet.

Jag disputerade i översättningsvetenskap i februari 2020 på avhandlingen The Dynamics of Extratextual Translatorship in Contemporary Sweden. A Mixed Methods Approach.


Svenskt nätverk för översättningsvetenskap (SNÖ)

Tillsammans med Lova Meister grundade jag Svenskt nätverk för översättningsvetenskap (SNÖ) 2016. Nätverket vänder sig till översättningsvetare i början av karriären och har för närvarande 21 medlemmar från sex universitet. Sedan 2020 är jag ordförande.


Jag ingår i arbetsgruppen för Rum för översättning (2015–2017; 2021–), som anordnar arrangemang om översättning på bokmässan i Göteborg och Littfest.

Sedan 2017 sitter jag med i redaktionsrådet för Med andra ord. Tidskrift för litterär översättning.


Jag har undervisat på praktiska och teoretiska kurser på TÖI sedan 2014. Jag handleder också uppsatser i översättningsvetenskap på grundnivå och avancerad nivå.

Våren 2023 undervisar jag på:

  • Översättningsteori II (7,5 hp, GN)
  • Översättning i teori och praktik II (10 hp, GN)
  • Textanalys (7,5 hp, GN)
  • Terminologi och terminologihantering (5 hp, GN)

Jag är kursföreståndare för Översättning II och Översättning III på kandidatprogrammet Översättning och språk. Jag är även kursansvarig för projektarbeteskursen. 


I min forskning intresserar jag mig för olika översättningssociologiska perspektiv på översättare, översättarstudenter och översättningar.

Jag har tex skrivit om

  • översättaryrkets status i Sverige (samt i jämförelse med Finland), 
  • översättares yrkesidentitet och trivsel i yrket (job satisfaction)
  • översättarstudenter (insocialisering i översättaryrket, self-conceptpossible selves),
  • översättarpriser,
  • uteblivna nyöversättningar.

Tillsammans med Minna Ruokonen och Leena Salmi var jag redaktör för specialnumret av Hermes (2018) med temat Translation profession, translator status and identity. Jag var redaktör för Översättningsvetenskap i praktiken. Om översättningar, översättare och översättande (Morfem, 2020) tillsammans med Lova Meister. Just nu är jag redaktör tillsammans med Minna Ruokonen och Anu Heino av ett specialnummer av Translation Spaces om översättares trivsel i yrket.


I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas

  • The Making of a Non-Retranslation through Paratexts: Bonjour tristesse in Eight Swedish Editions 1955–2012

    2022. Elin Svahn. Paratexts in Translation, 21-55


    This chapter explores paratexts—producer-created peritexts and receiver-created epitexts—in connection with Lily Vallquist’s Swedish translation of Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan. The translation is approached as a non-retranslation, i.e., as a translation that is continuously being republished over a long period of time without prompting a retranslation; Vallquist’s Bon­ jour tristesse has been published, in the same translation, in eight editions between 1955 and 2012. Consequently, it represents a prime object for studying paratexts in order to follow the novel’s long-term canonization in the Swedish literary system. The findings show an interplay between the epitexts and peritexts, with formulations being used, re-used, and slightly altered over a period of over fifty years, highlighting the interrelations between publishing houses and press. They also show how the short-term consecration, mainly by Bonjour tristesse being published in book clubs and classics series, builds up to the long-term canonization and the novel’s contemporary status as a classic. The chapter concludes with a discussion of whether a translation from the 1950s may in fact be perceived as an asset for a novel and an author that are strongly associated with the same era.

    Läs mer om The Making of a Non-Retranslation through Paratexts
  • The consecration of languages through translation awards in Sweden (1970–2015)

    2021. Alva Dahl, Elin Svahn. Meta 66 (3), 642-664


    This paper examines the role of translation awards in strengthening the literary capital of source languages. Focusing on three Swedish translation awards between 1970 and 2015, and comparing the awarded source languages to 1) the most central and influential literary languages in world literature and 2) Swedish publishing statistics 1970–2015, the aim is to position translation awards as an area of research within Translation Studies, as well as to investigate translation awards as a means of consecrating source languages in the target culture. Furthermore, we ask how these translation awards transfer different forms of symbolic capital back to the awarding institutions. The results from the comparisons show both similarities and differences, indicating that in the Swedish literary field, there are slight variations to the general global hierarchy of languages. The awarding patterns from the three translation awards studied are also in line with the profiles of the different awarding institutions. As could be expected, English is the most awarded language, although its dominance is strikingly small when compared to publishing statistics. This indicates that the literary capital of English is not unlimited; semi-central or even peripheral languages can transfer other sorts of values to the awarding institutions.

    Läs mer om The consecration of languages through translation awards in Sweden (1970–2015)
  • Pengar och prestige, men inte publicitet? Översättarpriser i Sverige 1862–2019

    2021. Elin Svahn. Samlaren 142, 240-271


    The aim of this study is to provide a systematic overview of translation awards in Sweden with a point of departure in seventeen Swedish translation awards. More specifically, the study aims to compare the general patterns surrounding translation awards with literary awards in Sweden researched by Määttä (2010) and to discuss economic, cultural and journalistic capital attached to translation awards. After a discussion of cultural and literary awards more generally, the limited research available on translation awards is presented, after which the seventeen translation awards under scrutiny are presented in depth. Three sorts of translation awards are presented: the first awards translators, e.g., for a life-time achievement; the second awards a translator for a particular translation; and the third awards a particular translation. Different aspects related to translation awards are then thoroughly discussed, such as the awarding institutions, how frequently the awards are disseminated, what the award sum amounts to, when the awards were instigated and their development over time, and to what extend the translation awards have an impact in the media. The study shows that although there are some notable similarities with the literary awards in Määttä's study, not least in terms of the awarding institutions and the development of the awards over time, there are also some characteristics that seem to distinguish translation awards from literary awards. For example, translation awards have less journalistic capital than literary awards. In the discussion, particular emphasis is placed on what kind of quality — that of the source text or of the translation — a translation award can be expected to reward, as well as on how a conversion of different forms of capital might look like from the point of view of a translator. The paper ends with a suggestion of the five most important Swedish translation awards and points out further avenues for future research.

    Läs mer om Pengar och prestige, men inte publicitet? Översättarpriser i Sverige 1862–2019
  • Comparative research into translator status

    2021. Minna Ruokonen, Elin Svahn. Perspectives


    This article presents a rare cross-national comparative study of translators’ status perceptions, examined by means of two sets of survey data collected in Finland in 2014 (n = 397) and in Sweden in 2016 (n=359). This comparison is of particular interest since the two countries share many characteristics, albeit with notable differences as to the role of translation in society and the history of translator education and associations. Following Dam and Zethsen (e.g., 2008), we compare the respondents’ views of five variables: status, income, expertise/education, visibility and power/influence, which are ranked on a five-point Likert scale. Mann–Whitney U tests indicated statistically significant differences between the two datasets in most items. While there were no clear tendencies by variable, the items where the Finnish respondents’ rankings were higher can be linked to the role of translation in society and to more established translator education in Finland. In contrast, the Swedish respondents’ higher rankings may be explained by a large proportion of respondents with decades of working experience. Overall, the results highlight the importance of collecting comparable data and analysing even apparently similar perceptions for differences.

    Läs mer om Comparative research into translator status
  • Effects of source languages on Swedish translation students’ socialisation processes

    2021. Elin Svahn. The Interpreter and Translator Trainer 15 (2), 225-242


    This article reports on a longitudinal focus group study of two groups of translation students aimed at investigating their socialisation into the translation profession. The students followed the same MA programme in Translation Studies at a Swedish university but worked with different source languages (SL): Japanese and English. The focus group data were analysed thematically following Braun and Clarke, with a point of departure in Weidman et al.’s socialisation model and its three core elements: knowledge acquisition, investment, and involvement. The findings show that the two groups’ SLs played a crucial role in their socialisation into the profession, affecting all three core elements to various degrees. The findings can be described as either pertaining to personal reasons or institutional constraints. Recognising Japanese as a language of low diffusion and low resources in the Swedish translation context provides an explanation for these findings. Finally, implications for translator education are discussed.

    Läs mer om Effects of source languages on Swedish translation students’ socialisation processes
  • Fantastic Translator Role Models and Where to Find Them

    2020. Elin Svahn. Transletters. International Journal of Translation and Interpreting (3), 299-322


    Drawing on possible selves theory and role model theory, this article explores translation students' possibilities of envisioning their future as translators. Four MA students in a Swedish university were followed over two years through a longitudinal focus group study. The material was analyzed thematically following Braun and Clarke (2006). The results show that the students discuss themes related to possible selves and role models with both textual and extratextual dimensions, but that the two dimensions do not coincide.

    Läs mer om Fantastic Translator Role Models and Where to Find Them
  • Översättningsvetenskap i praktiken

    2020. .

    Bok (red)

    Det har länge saknats kurslitteratur i översättningsvetenskaplig metod som är skriven på svenska. Översättningsvetenskap i praktiken är tänkt att fylla det tomrummet och fungera som en introduktion såväl på översättarutbildningar och forskarutbildningar i översättningsvetenskap som på översättningsinriktade kurser inom ramen för enskilda språkämnen.

    Här kan du att vässa din förmåga till metodologisk analys, inspireras av aktuell översättningsvetenskaplig forskning och få verktyg för att skapa en stringent vetenskaplig studie.

    Läs mer om Översättningsvetenskap i praktiken
  • The Dynamics of Extratextual Translatorship in Contemporary Sweden

    2020. Elin Svahn.

    Avhandling (Dok)

    This thesis is concerned with Swedish translators and the society in which they work. It begins with an exploration of the concept of translatorship, leading up to a three-part distinction of 1) textual translatorship, 2) paratextual translatorship, and 3) extratextual translatorship. Adopting a mixed methods approach, the empirical body of the thesis consists of three studies in which different aspects of extratextual translatorship – defined as the translator’s social role – are investigated. In doing so, the thesis makes new and valuable contributions to the field of agent-oriented translation sociology.

    The first study explores translators’ perceptions of translatorship using data collected through a widely distributed questionnaire. It employs a comparative approach derived from questionnaire-based studies originally designed by Helle V. Dam and Karen Korning Zethsen and previously conducted in Denmark and Finland. Although the group of respondents are fractionalised in many respects, perceptions concerning both the profession’s characteristics and its value on a societal level are highly unanimous. Statistical tests, however, reveal interesting nuances within the broader unanimity. Furthermore, in relation to previous research on translator status conducted in Denmark and Finland, the results display significant similarities but also some noteworthy differences. The second study investigates the ongoing socialisation of two groups of translation students in the process of becoming translators through a longitudinal focus group study. The data, collected over the course of two years, are analysed through deductive thematic analysis. A special emphasis is placed upon exploring the contextual structures in which the students’ socialisation processes are embedded and the structural factors influencing it. In the third study, in-depth interviews were conducted with five individual translators with different specialisations. Using deductive thematic analysis, the functions of their translatorships are investigated from an individual-centred perspective focusing on their respective roles as translators on an individual, professional and societal level, which correspond, respectively, to a concern for personal satisfaction, a sense of social community, and a higher purpose. Such a framework distinguishes and differentiates individual translators’ approaches to the profession while simultaneously providing an encompassing picture of the different functions of translatorship in translators’ lives.

    Overall, the thesis adopts a mixed methods approach in order to generate greater understanding of the dynamics of translatorship in contemporary Sweden. Targeting different levels of translatorship, it unravels a number of significant social dimensions of translatorship, such as the social recognition needed in order to become a translator. Together, the studies also point towards a number of common features as especially relevant for translatorship in contemporary Sweden, namely individualism, entrepreneurialism, collectiveness, translator status, responsibility and exit, i.e. the prospect of leaving the profession. Taken as a whole, the thesis demonstrates the value of a mixed methods approach in the field of agent-oriented translation sociology by shedding considerable light on the links between the translator and society and indicating further avenues through which these links can continue to be explored.

    Läs mer om The Dynamics of Extratextual Translatorship in Contemporary Sweden
  • Feeling Like a Translator

    2016. Elin Svahn. New Horizons in Translation Research and Education 4, 27-45


    Translator students’ self-concept has been a key element in several frameworks of translation didactics. This paper explores the notion of self-concept, broadly defined as the way we think about ourselves, from a sociological viewpoint in a longitudinal study, taking its material from three focus group sessions recorded with four translation students following an MA programme in Translation Studies. The Perry scheme (Perry 1970) is applied to the material in order to map the students’ epistemological development. The analysis shows that focus groups are a suitable method for uncovering self-concept statements, and that a highly developed self-concept can be seen in the material, although some factors seem to have slowed the self-concept development. 

    Läs mer om Feeling Like a Translator

Visa alla publikationer av Elin Svahn vid Stockholms universitet