Urantiaboken - the Swedish Translation
By Joel Rehnström, Finland
Joel, why did you translate The Urantia Book into Swedish?
With a background in UFOs, I discovered The Urantia Book in 1966. My reason for starting the translation was the crucial importance of the book’s super-message for people who were looking for truth, and who were accepting of truth from unconventional sources.
In 1993, when the Finnish translation was published, Seppo Kanerva encouraged me to translate the book into Swedish, which is my mother tongue. I had always thought that somebody in Sweden (I am a Finnish citizen) would do the job. But I had recently retired from my working career and had some time to spare, so Seppo, Hannu Stenroos, and I formed a team and commenced with the translation.
From the beginning to the end, the translation was truly a team effort, first with Seppo, Hannu, and me, and later on, after Hannu became ill and graduated, Eva Edwards joined us. Eva is a Swedish-American lady living in Seattle, Washington.
Hannu and Eva are experts on the Swedish language spoken in Sweden. It sometimes differs from the Swedish language spoken by the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland. Eva’s contribution was invaluable. Her thorough job of editing enhanced the overall quality of the translation. Seppo rendered the Swedish translation into digital format and worked with Urantia Foundation to make it available on the internet.
Why do you believe that the translation is important for the Swedish-speaking people?
Even if English is rapidly becoming the lingua franca all over the world, understanding the text of The Urantia Book requires a very good knowledge of English, which is not possessed by everyone. For most people the size of the book, 2097 pages, can also be intimidating but less so in one’s own language.
What are your hopes for The Urantia Book in Swedish-speaking areas?
That people will find it! The main market for the Swedish translation will naturally be in Sweden. But there is also a Swedish-speaking minority living mostly along the southern and western coastlines of Finland. In addition, the Norwegian and Danish people will be able to read the Swedish translation, although they will certainly want their own translations.
How has The Urantia Book been received in Nordic countries?
The Urantia Book is rather well known in Finland, especially among people seeking truth from alternative sources. The book has been available in English since the early 1970s and in Finnish since 1993. Christian fundamentalists do not tolerate the book, but the Lutheran Church, to which over 80% of the population belongs, is not actively discrediting it. The book is not yet well known in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, but having the Swedish translation, along with a good distribution agent, will certainly improve awareness.
Would you tell us something about yourself, Joel?
I was born in 1931 and grew up in southern Finland as part of the Swedish-speaking minority. In 1954 I received an MBA from the Swedish School of Economics in Helsinki. I am married to Eeva, who also has an MBA, and we live on the southern coast of Finland west of Helsinki. Three of our four children live abroad, and we have seven grandchildren. In my working career I cultivated some small business enterprises of my own, worked as a teacher of business administration, and served as a principal of a commercial college in Helsinki.
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