In 2012, translation Professor Agnes Whitfield and her artist husband took over a small Quebec press and launched a series called Vita Traductiva, focusing on literary translators and translating around the world.
At the time, the Glendon professor said literary translation is an essential means of sharing heritages, yet it is a field too often overlooked and undervalued. She aimed to publish the series on paper and online through Open Access the latest information about literary translations in French, English and other languages for the benefits of librarians, publishers, translators and teachers.
Whitfield is a founding member of Voice in Translation, an international research group based at the University of Copenhagen in Oslo that focuses on the different voices in the translation process. Vita Traductiva is a joint initiative of the Research Group on Literary Translation in Canada at York University and Les Éditions québécoises de l’oeuvre. Whitfield has recently added a two-volume collection of essays to the Vita Traductiva series called Authorial and Editorial Voices in Translation.
The first is sub-titled Collaborative Relationships between Authors, Translators, and Performers. Translators are not the only agents involved in translation. In this volume, contributors write about how authors, publishers, editors, directors and critics can affect translation. They look at historical and contemporary empirical studies to examine forms of collaboration and negotiation, or conflict, with special attention to the multiple voices in theatre translation.
The second volume is sub-titled Editorial and Publishing Practices. It grew out of a Voice in Translation conference in Oslo in 2011. Essays explore how editors and publishers affect translation during rewriting and retranslation, and with respect to prefacing, book format, titling and marketing. Contributors examine historical and contemporary examples involving many languages, including Danish, English, Finnish, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Swedish, and Turkish.
The set was edited by Hanne Jansen, a professor, and Anna Wegener, a PhD student, in the Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies at the University of Copenhagen.
Whitfield is former president of the Canadian Association for Translation Studies and was bilingual joint chair in Women’s Studies at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University in 2009-2010.
She is organizing a conference, Translating the Voices of Theory: Intercultural Passages, Resistances and Audibility, to be this coming March in Paris. It is sponsored by Voice in Translation and TRACT: Traduction et communication transculturelle.