Born in Oslo in 1946, Per Qvale studied Philosophy, History of ideas, and Comparative Literature in Oslo and Bergen, and held a scholarship in Philosophy in Tübingen, Germany 1973-74. Mag.art (PhD), University of Oslo 1981. He has translated about 150 books from German, English and Swedish, both fiction and non-fiction (e.g. Thomas Mann, Elias Canetti, John Fowles, Göran Tunström, Lars Gustafsson, Lars Andersson, Theodor W. Adorno, Peter Englund, John Irving, Sven Delblanc, William Shakespeare). His awards include: Letterstedtska Föreningens Nordisk Översättarpris 2013, The Norwegian Translators’ Association’s Bastian Prize 2008 and The Norwegian Book clubs Prize 2002.
As an editor he published a book on translation theory: Det umuliges kunst. Om å oversette. Oslo 1991 and as a writer a second one: Fra Hieronymus til hypertekst. Oversettelse i teori og praksis. Oslo 1998, English edition From St. Jerome to Hypertext, Manchester 2003.
Per Qvale has also been active as chairman of the Norwegian Association of Literary Translators and is a member of the chair of Det Norske Akademi for Sprog og Litteratur.