The Literary Translators’ Association of Canada was officially born on Saturday, May 17, 1975, at 2:30 P.M., when Philip Stratford declared: “The Literary Translators’ Association now exists in reality.”
It is hard now to imagine the situation of literary translators in the 1970s. Receiving little recognition, tolerated as a necessary evil, they worked under conditions that were hardly conductive to the development of their profession or of literary translation as a form of creation in its own right.
The following are a few key dates in the history of literary translation in Canada and the life of the LTAC:
Since only works in English are eligible for the Governor General’s Literary Awards the prestigious prize is given to the translation of Gabrielle Roy’s novel Bonheur d’occasion (translated by Hannah Josephson), The Tin Flute.
Creation of the Canada Council for the Arts, which institutes grants for literary translation on an ad hoc basis.
The Prix littéraires du Gouverneur général are created to honour French-language books.
The Canada Council for the Arts establishes a translation assistance program as part of its Book Publishing Support program. Publishers are given $0.05 per word to support the cost of translation.
Founding of the LTAC. Patricia Claxton is elected the first president.
The LTAC participates in a major event, the Eighth World Congress of the Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs, in Montreal.
The LTAC is involved in the revision of the Canadian Copyright Act.
The LTAC submits three briefs asking that translations be explicitly included as literary works in the Canadian Copyright Act.
The Canada Council for the Arts doubles the subsidy for translation to $0.10 a word.
The LTAC creates the John Glassco Translation Prize to encourage beginning translators and promote literary translation.
The LTAC appears before a parliamentary committee on the revision of copyright.
Victory for the LTAC: translations are finally included in the definition of literary works in the Copyright Act passed on December 11.
The Canada Council for the Arts adds the categories “Translation” and “Traduction” to the Governor General’s Literary Awards.
The translation grants given by the Canada Council for the Arts are increased to $0.12 a word.
Creation of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre (BILTC) thanks in large part to the efforts of the LTAC. Two members of the LTAC sit on the Advisory Council of BILTC.
The LTAC participates in an international Copyright Conference marking the 50th anniversary of the International Federation of Translators, at UNESCO in Paris.
Some 350 Canadian and American translators attend a joint conference organized by the LTAC and the American Literary Translators Association in Montreal.
The LTAC and BILTC organize a conference for translators, authors and publishers from Canada and abroad.
The LTAC receives a grant from Canadian Heritage for Words on the Move, a series of translation slams in several regions of the country using texts by Canadian authors.
In September, the LTAC launches a series of monthly workshops led by well-known translators at the Plateau Mont-Royal library in Montreal.
With the support of the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, the LTAC presents workshops on copyright for literary translators in seven major Canadian cities.
The LTAC launches an advertising campaign and Internet platform promoting literature in translation.