Heikki Hurtta

I work at the Institute for the Languages of Finland as one of the two editors-in-chief of a dictionary. I have a PhD in the field of Finnish dialects.

The Dictionary of Finnish Dialects is a project based on extensive archives, describing the vocabulary of our traditional dialects in a scientific way. The Dictionary is no longer published in print; instead, it was transferred to the Internet in 2012. This way, the dictionary is available to all users of the Internet free of charge.

As the editor-in-chief I check and edit the manuscript of the dictionary especially from the perspective of dialects and language geography. The other editor-in-chief is, for her part, in charge of how the meanings are presented in the dictionary.

The Dictionary of Finnish Dialects is a unique project especially in the sense that this type of a dictionary is only compiled once. Thus, the editorial staff can be considered the best specialists in their field in the entire world. In a job like this, I would not speak of career development in a traditional sense: for us, career development is when you learn more and more about the contents and your job description changes, and hopefully also becomes more versatile along the way.

Dictionary work entails constant problem solving. In the middle of his primary tasks, a dictionary editor gets to enjoy variation through various specialist duties (writing popular articles, presenting the dictionary to different audiences), public appearances, and even administrative tasks.

The number of the editors of the Dictionary of Finnish Dialects has varied over the years: currently we have some ten people on the editorial staff. Editing the Dictionary is a combination of solitary toil and teamwork. Luckily we have a great team spirit, so no-one needs to be stuck with a problem they may face but everything can be solved in good cooperation.