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Event Series Event Series: The Art of Literary Translation

The Art of Literary Translation

5 June at 18:00 21:00 EDT

In this workshop, we will explore literary translation from French to English: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and songs.

We will look at contemporary literature from Quebec and France, as well as some older (nineteenth- and twentieth-century) texts. Sources may include Gabrielle Roy, Anne Hébert, Annie Ernaux, and Samuel Archibald. We will start by looking at an excerpt of a literary text in French and reading a published English translation of it. What difficulties (such as euphony, voice, word play, and verb tense) did the translator face, and how successful were they? At each meeting, there will be time to produce your own translations, often in groups. We will read our work aloud and comment on difficulties and strokes of inspiration.

Participants will have the opportunity to translate a further passage from the same work (or from another) as a homework assignment for the next meeting. The corrected assignments provide individual feedback and lead to discussion of the issues encountered.

During the course of the workshop, you’ll be asked to present a passage you have translated from a work you have chosen, commenting on the issues it presents, and describing ways of solving these issues. This is an ideal opportunity to begin or pursue a project you intend to submit to a publisher. Jonathan Kaplanskywon a French Voices Award to translate Nobel Prize-winning author Annie Ernaux’s La vie extérieure (Things Seen)for the University of Nebraska Press. Recent translations include Jonathan Bécotte’s Like a Hurricane (Orca, 2023) and Hélène Rioux’s The End of the World is Elsewhere (Guernica, 2022). He has sat on the juries for the translation category of the Governor General’s Literary Awards and the John Glassco Translation Prize and recently translated the libretto of an opera by Hélène Dorion and Marie-Claire Blais entitled Yourcenar: An Island of Passions.



1200 Atwater Avenue, Room 3
Westmount, QC H3Z 1X4 Canada


Join Waitlist We will inform you of any newly available spots for this workshop via email. Please note: once you receive the notice of availability, you will have 48hrs to register —or 24hrs if the workshop begins in a week or less— before the spot is made available to the next person.
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