About the Video

Advanced Masterclass in Literary Translation: FR-EN

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

When you purchase this video, you will receive (as one of the handouts for download) a short text 260-290 words for you to translate in your own time before watching the video. You will also be able to download a brief Introduction putting the text into context. In addition, you will receive a compilation of several alternate translations of the source text so you can compare your work to the work of others.

During the video, we discuss the problems and solutions of those who took part in the original live event, enabling you to see various approaches, learn from others and hone your skills in the field of literary translation.

The text for this webinar is of Advanced Level and includes a great deal of descriptive text that requires attention to alliteration, assonance, and lyricism.

This video is part of a series that also includes Intermediate Masterclass in Literary Translation: FR-EN. Both sessions can be enjoyed separately but if you buy both, you can save 10 GBP by typing the code SANDRASMITHDUO into the checkout.

Key takeaways 

By the end of the video, 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


Sandra Smith

Sandra has translated some 20 works, including Irène Némirovsky’s Suite Française, Camus’ The StrangerThe Necklace and Other Stories: Maupassant for Modern TimesBut 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.


1 hour 10 min

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 to compare your work with the work of others, practise translating dialogue, and avoid pitfalls.

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