The Literary Translators Association of Canada officially came into existence on Saturday, May 17, 1975 at 2:30 pm when Philip Stratford declared: “The Literary Translators Association now exists.”

It is difficult to imagine the working context of literary translators in the 1970s. Not widely regarded and tolerated as a necessary evil, translators did not enjoy working conditions conducive to the development of their profession and literary translation as a form of creation in its own right.

Below are some milestones in the history of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada and of literary translation in Canada more generally:


Given that, at the time, the Governor General’s Literary Awards were awarded solely to English books, Hannah Josephson’s translation of Gabrielle Roy’s novel Bonheur d’occasion that receives the prestigious award


The Canada Council for the Arts is established to provide translation assistance on an ad hoc basis.


Works in French are now accepted for the Governor General’s Literary Awards.


The Canada Council for the Arts sets up the Translation Assistance Program to aide publishers in the production of translations. The rate paid to publishers to partially cover translation costs is $ 0.05 per word.


LTAC is founded with Patricia Claxton elected as the first president.


LTAC participates in a major event: the eighth world congress of the International Federation of Translators in Montreal.

LTAC also participates in the revision process of the Canadian Copyright Act.


LTAC files three statements of case to lobby for translation to be expressly mentioned as a literary work in Canadian copyright law.


The Canada Council for the Arts doubles the translation rate to $ 0.10 per word.


LTAC establishes the John Glassco Translation Award to encourage the next generation of translators and to promote literary translation.


LTAC testifies in Parliament before the Subcommittee on Copyright Review.


A victory for LTAC and indeed all Canadian translators: translation finally appears in the definition of literary works in  the Copyright Act voted on December 11.

The Canada Council for the Arts adds the categories “Translation” and “Traduction” to the Governor General’s Literary Awards.


The Canada Council’s Translation Grant for Publishers is raised to $ 0.12 per word.


Creation of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre (BILTC), thanks in large part to the efforts of the LTAC. Two members of the Association sit permanently on the BILTC Advisory Board.

LTAC participates in an international conference on copyright at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. The meeting is organized on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the International Federation of Translators.


Roughly 350 Canadian and American translators gather in Montreal to attend a conference organized jointly by the LTAC and the American Literary Translators Association.


LTAC partners with the BILTC to organize a conference for Canadian and foreign translators, authors and publishers.


LTAC receives a grant from Canadian Heritage for Words on the Move, a series of events organized in cities across the country that encourages audience members to partake in the translation of literary texts by Canadian authors.

In September, LTAC launches a series of monthly workshops at the Plateau Mont-Royal Library in Montreal, led by renowned translators.


With the support of the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, LTAC hostes copyright workshops in seven major cities across the country for professional literary translators.


LTAC organizes a strong presence at the 2018 Canadian Writers Summit, a super-conference jointly hosted by a cohort of Canadian writer organizations. Our association sponsors three successful panels at the CWS: Inviolate Space / Espace inviolé, Good Reasons for Translating and Publishing International Literature in Canada, and They Are with Us: Translation and Its Effects. The panels are very well attended, with the third one attracting the attention of the editors of TWUC magazine Write, who consequently invite the participants to contribute to an article that expands on the ideas discussed in the panel.


LTAC develops three significant partnerships that help grow the association’s presence and influence both in Canada and abroad:

The first is with the Frye Festival, the most prestigious literary event in Atlantic Canada, which yields four events taking from late February to early May in Moncton, Fredericton, and Halifax.

The second partnership is with the Maison de la littérature in Québec City and consists of supporting the development of the Maison’s inaugural literary translation residency.

The third is with the British Centre for Literary Translation’s International Summer School in Literary Translation & Creative Writing. LTAC is invited to co-sponsor the French to English & English to French workshop which is led by member Arianne Des Rochers and features the work of author Nathanaël.