Icelandic Translators in Demand

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Vantar þýðendur úr íslensku á ensku—næg vinna!

If you know what that means, then Iceland has a job for you.

Iceland’s banking system has collapsed, its economy is in turmoil and its volcano has blotted the sky with ash.

As a result, things have never looked better for the small cadre of Icelandic translators who render the North Germanic tongue of 320,000 island-dwellers into something the rest of the world can understand.

The remnants of Iceland’s three major banks conduct creditors’ meetings in Icelandic. Many of the creditors are foreign. Interpreters are needed.

Among the assignments: bankruptcy cases, criminal probes, fraud suits and, earlier this month, a 2,000-plus-page report on the banking mess—solid gold for a translator—produced by a “truth committee” of the Alþingi (that’s parliament).

“A big uptick for me,” says Daniel Teague, an American translator who has lived in Reykjavík for decades.

“I don’t think I ever did bankruptcy before,” says Keneva Kunz, a Canadian-born translator working in Iceland for more than 20 years. “In the last year and a half, I don’t think I’ve done anything else.”

Business erupted last fall when Iceland rushed its application to the European Union. The Icelandic currency had sunk with the banks, and the island’s leaders were suddenly anxious to ditch their króna for the euro.

Read more > WSJ

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