HELSINKI, Feb. 28 – On Kalevala Day, the Kalevala Society Foundation awarded Finnish-born Canadian author and translator Kaarina Brooks with a prize of 5000€ for her English translations of Kalevala. Brooks’ work was notable because it applied the trochaic tetrametre (or Kalevala metre) to the English language, as far as has been possible.
Brooks has translated the Old and New Kalevala (1835 and 1849 respectively) from Finnish to English in 2020 and 2021. The importance of Brooks’ work is increased by the fact that she has also translated Elias Lönnrot’s Prefaces to both Old and New Kalevala.
It is notable that Brooks has applied the trochaic tetrametre (or Kalevala metre) to the English language. Her goal has been to offer readers a translation that follows the language based on the sung Kalevala metre and in this way reaches the poetic world of the Kalevala.
There are several translations of the Kalevala into English both in prose and poetic form, the first of which was a selection of runo songs from the Old Kalevala, published in 1846 by Charles-Frèdèric Henningsen. Before Brooks’ translations, the most recent one is from 1989 by Keith Bosley, who used the Celtic metrical system. To date, Bosley and Brooks are the only translators who have strived for a complete metric translation. Kaarina Brooks is the first to translate the 1835 Old Kalevala into verse form in its entirety.