AABS Recognizes Two Students with 2024 Undergraduate Paper in Baltic Studies Award

Jun 16, 2024

The Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies is pleased to announce two 2024 recipients of the Undergraduate Paper in Baltic Studies Award: Linda Ozola-Ozoliņa, for her paper “Latvian environmental term purvs: Problems and solutions in Latvian-English-Latvian translations of helonyms,” and Jordan Anderson, for her paper “Vilnius Poker: What Fantasy and Absurdity Tells Us About Soviet Lithuania in the Late 20th Century.”

The AABS Undergraduate Paper in Baltic Studies Award of $250 recognizes academic papers on Baltic Studies based on originality, scholarship, excellence in writing, and quality of engagement with the subject area. Nominations were evaluated by the AABS Undergraduate Paper Award Committee.

©Linda Ozola-Ozoliņa, 2024

Linda Ozola-Ozoliņa is a student of the Masters Programme “Translation of LSP (Language for Special Purposes) texts” at Ventspils University of Applied Sciences in Latvia. In 2022, she obtained a professional bachelor’s degree in translation and interpreting from Ventspils University of Applied Sciences after submitting the bachelor’s paper “Latvian environmental term purvs: Problems and solutions in Latvian-English-Latvian translations of helonyms”. Ozola-Ozoliņa’s research interests are translation and terminology. She recently participated in the project called “Smart Complex of Information Systems of Specialized Biology Lexis for the Research and Preservation of Linguistic Diversity” as a research assistant.

“Latvian environmental term purvs: Problems and solutions in Latvian-English-Latvian translations of helonyms”

When translating helonyms from Latvian to English, translators encounter several terms with synonymic meanings that can be used as equivalents of the Latvian term purvs, although they specify the type of wetland more accurately: for example, bog, fen, marsh, mire, and swamp. As natural environments may vary significantly among different geographical locations, a wetland habitat found in one region may not exist in another. Currently, there is no comprehensive classification system that encompasses all types of wetlands around the world; therefore, the equivalence of wetland names in the environmental terminology among various languages is often unclear. The present paper investigates whether the English translations of Latvian helonyms and the Latvian translations of the United States (US) helonyms are accurate and consistent regarding the available wetland terminology in each language. The results suggest that when translating helonyms from Latvian to English, it is necessary to know the specific type of wetland habitat to be able to choose the appropriate English language term. In translations of helonyms from English into Latvian, the most frequently used word is the superordinate term purvs.

A woman with glasses and brown hair in front of a blurry verdant background

©Jordan Anderson, 2024

Jordan Anderson is a recent graduate of The College of William and Mary and The University of St. Andrews. She attained a Bachelor of Arts International Honours Degree in History from both institutions as part of the St. Andrews William and Mary Joint Degree Programme, where she had the opportunity to spend two years at both universities. Anderson’s degree focus was in Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Baltic States in the 20th century. She is currently researching journalism and broadcasting in Eastern Europe and Soviet Russia during the interwar period, with a focus on early Soviet disinformation. Anderson’s other research project includes exploring memory and photography in the Baltic States after the Second World War. She hopes to further explore and analyze literature and other forms of art as historical sources, especially under repressive regimes.

Vilnius Poker: What Fantasy and Absurdity Tells Us About Soviet Lithuania in the Late 20th Century”

Vilnius Poker is an acclaimed novel by Lithuanian writer Ričardas Gavelis. Anderson’s essay explores the strange and multifaceted narrative crafted by Gavelis during his time in Soviet-occupied Lithuania, examining the author’s use of satire and surrealism as a critique and form of protest against Soviet power. Gavelis blurs the lines between reality and fantasy through his narrative, offering readers a fascinating glimpse into the complexities of life in a Soviet satellite state. Through the analysis of key scenes, the essay examines Gavelis’s surrealist techniques and draws parallels to the works of Franz Kafka and Mikhail Bulgakov. Ultimately, the analysis of Vilnius Poker attempts to untangle the esoteric and outlandish language of Gavelis in order to discover the real story of Lithuanian life under an authoritarian power.

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