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

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Time: 18:00 to 20:00

Duration: 5 May, 2023

Location: Atwater Library and Computer Centre—1200 Atwater Avenue, Westmount, Quebec View map



Please contact Marian Rebeiro for any questions.

6:00 – 8:00 P.M. – May 5, 12, 19, 26, June 2, 9, 16, & 23

For those with a solid mastery of French and English, writing ability in English, and an interest in literature. Limited to 12 participants.

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 was she or he? 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, 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.

Workshop leader

Credit: Véro Boncompagni
Jonathan Kaplansky has approximately thirty-five literary translations to his credit. He won the French Voices Award to translate Annie Ernaux’s La Vie extérieure (published by University of Nebraska Press as Things Seen) and has served on the jury for the Governor General’s Literary Awards in Translation. His translations include Lise Tremblay’s Chemin Saint-Paul (Quattro Books), Hélène Dorion’s Days of Sand (Cormorant), Hélène Rioux’s Sleepless Nights and Days of Glory (Guernica), and, forthcoming, Jean-Pierre Le Glaunec’s The Cry of Vertières: Liberation, Memory, and the Beginning of Haiti (McGill-Queens). He sits on the Executive of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada.


Registration for this workshop is now closed.

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