About the Video

Masterclass in Literary Translation – Workshop 1: French-English

Literary Translation requires a creative approach to the work that often comes down to subjectivity andLiterary Translation Techniques experience. However, many creative techniques can be learned and practised through workshops.

When you book the webinar you will receive (in the webinar confirmation with your link to attend) a short text 260-290 words) for you to translate in your own time before attending the live webinar. A brief Introduction putting the text into context will follow as soon as it is ready.

During the webinar, we will discuss the problems you encountered and how you solved them, learning from each other and getting pointers from the presenter to help you hone your skills in the field of literary translation.

The text for this webinar is of Intermediate Level and includes some dialogue.

A second workshop follows a week later. It will be set at a more advanced level and will include descriptive text that requires attention to alliteration, assonance and lyricism.

Book both and save £7. Type the code SANDRASMITHDUO into the checkout.

Key takeaways 

By the end of the session, you will:

  1. Learn some of the more creative writing techniques necessary for literary translation
  2. Have the opportunity of exchanging ideas with peers and a published literary translator
  3. Practise translating dialogue that is appropriate to the context of the text
  4. Avoid the pitfalls of literal translation

All webinars are recorded: if you miss the live session, you will be able to view the recording later.

Speaker: Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith has translated some 20 works, including Irène Némirovsky’s Suite Française, Camus’ The Stranger, The Necklace and Other Stories: Maupassant for Modern Times, But you did not come back by Marceline Loridan-Ivens, amongst others.

Her translation of Suite Française won the French-American-Florence Gould Foundation Translation Prize, the PEN Translation Prize and was voted Book of the Year for 2006 by The Times of London. In 2015, her translation was adapted into a movie directed by Saul Dibb and starring Michele Williams, Matthias Schoenaerts and Kristin Scott Thomas.

But you did not come back won the 2016 National Jewish Book Award in the Best Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir category.

Seven of Smith’s translations have been adapted as radio plays for the BBC – Suite Française, David Golder, Fire in the Blood, The Dogs and the Wolves, and Jezebel, all by Némirovsky, as well as Camus’ The Outsider and But you did not come back.

Smith taught French language, literature and translation for many years at the University of Cambridge, as well as Master Classes in translation at Columbia. She has been a guest lecturer at Sarah Lawrence, Barnard and Harvard. She currently teaches at NYU and is a member of the Author’s Guild and the PEN Translation Committee.


15 May 2018


3:00 pm UK time. 16:00 CEST, 10:00 am US Eastern. Click here to see the time where you live.


Approx. 60-70 minutes plus Q&A.

CPD points

This webinar earns one hour of CPD (ATA approved for one point). Our webinars and courses are accredited by the CIOL and by the Dutch Bureau Wbtv as ‘erkende opleiding’ (approved training). ITI members may also log these webinars as CPD hours. The same is true of most other professional institutes.

Who should watch it?

Translators wishing to improve their techniques and style.

What are the benefits to you?

You will learn some of the more creative writing techniques necessary for literary translation, and have the opportunity of exchanging ideas, practise translating dialogue, and avoid pitfalls.

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