Translators Associations Europe: ATLAS

Promoting translated literature as a creative activity

Translators Associations Europe: ATLASATLAS, The Conferences of Literary Translation in Arles (Assises de la Traduction Littéraire en Arles) is a French cultural translators association created “under the law of 1901”, with its administrative office in Paris and the social home in the beautiful nature-surrounded location of Arles.

The main aim of this translation association is “to promote translated literature as a cultural activity”. Moreover, it wishes to create links between specialists in the subject and people who share an interest on literary translation.

Each year, ATLAS is responsible for organising an event that borrows the association’s own name. The “Assises de la traduction littéraire” (Conferences of Literary Translation) gather every year a set of professionals, from members of translation companies and freelancers, to writers and enthusiasts.

In 2011, the theme of the conferences was “Extraordinary translations”. It had over 300 participants. Mostly comprised of workshops, conferences and debates, the event was considered by the translators association as “a very beautiful edition, with its strong moments, like the reading of Molly Bloom’s monologue from James Joyce’s Ulysses”.

As far as workshops are concerned, ATLAS outlines the one about Wardwesan, oriented by Frédéric Werst or the one about Sanskrit, with Philipe Benoît.

In the end of May or early June, ATLAS organises, in Paris, the “Journée de Printemps” (“Spring Journey”). This event is always devoted to a specific theme of literary translation. Examples of past editions include subjects like “translating the town”, “translating the colour” or “translating the night”.

However, the “assises” and the educational events are far from being the organisation’s sole hit. For example, ATLAS is responsible for the management of the International College for Literary Translators (Collège International des Traducteurs Littéraires, CITL), situated at the “Espace Van Gogh”, in Arles.

The institution, created by ATLAS, in 1987, has the purpose of receiving in-residence professional translators “from all around the world”. Despite that, the institution also welcomes writers, researchers and linguists. The College, in spite of what its name may suggest, does not provide any course or editorial activities.

What the CITL does, as well as provide a home for translators, is to develop what they call “relations ‘binationales’”. This means the college is eager to establish links involving two countries, with the purpose of organising seminars that will join together young translators with experienced professionals.

The CITL also organises many cultural activities and debates in Arles and in its scenic surroundings.

Installed in the centre of the town, in a refurbished historical building turned into the Van Gogh Centre, the CITL has an area of approximately 700 square metres, including a library (open 24/7) and offices, on the first floor, and a room downstairs (an open space where residents can enjoy television, a dining-room, a kitchen, a terrace, a gym and ten bedrooms).

Other than the above-mentioned activities, ATLAS is responsible for the awarding of literary prizes for translation and the publishing of several works of interest for translators and translation agencies that work with literature.

Over the years, as far as awards are concerned, the translators association has been responsible for a great many. The Atlas-Junior Prize is given every year to high schools around the Provence - Alpes - Côte d’Azur region. It awards the best literary translation of a text originally written in English, German, Spanish, Italian or Provencal. Another distinction attributed by ATLAS is the “Grand Prix de Traduction de la SGDL”. In partnership with the Societé des Gens de Lettres, it is divided in two: the Career prize, for the whole works of a translator; the Discovery prize, for a young translator.

Keep in mind that French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the province of Quebec and the Acadia region in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Around the world there are around 130 million French speakers.

Lexis is happy to receive and publish news on events and other initiatives by your translators association. Please send us the press releases by your translation association to the email address Lexis – Connections with meaning

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