Trials and tribulations of an emerging literary translator

To many a professional translator, the world of literary translation can seem terribly romantic and alluring. After all, there is something distinctly satisfying about seeing your name in black and white on the shelves of Waterstones and the local library. And who wouldn’t want to spend their time talking about their work at book fairs and literary festivals?

However, there are certain drawbacks to turning your back on a successful commercial translation career to dive into the sink-or-swim sea of publishing. David Warriner found this out the hard way yet is still stubbornly trying to tip the balance of his work towards literary and other published translations. Through this presentation, he hopes to share some of the lessons he has learned with other professional translators thinking of flirting with the sirens of literary translation to help them take the plunge with their eyes wide open.

David Warriner translates from French to English and nurtures a healthy passion for crime fiction and thrillers from France and Quebec. He is a member of the UK Society of Authors, Translators Association (SoA, TA), the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA), and the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada (LTAC), and a certified translator and member of the Society of Translators and Interpreters of British Columbia and of the Order of Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters of Quebec. David has published a range of fiction, nonfiction and children's fiction titles, and his first full-length translation of a novel, Roxanne Bouchard’s We Were the Salt of the Sea, was published by Orenda Books in London in 2018. He has talked his way into all the ITI conferences since 2013 and has somehow managed to evade detection as a non-member thus far.

David grew up in deepest, darkest South Yorkshire and developed incurable Francophilia at an early age, which led him to move first to France and then Quebec before the West Coast of Canada beckoned. More than a decade into a high-powered professional translation career serving a wealth of boutique clients, he listened to his heart and turned his hand again to the delicate art of literary translation they tried to teach him at Oxford. David has seen with his own four eyes how switching tracks from commercial to literary translation can bring significant challenges, and he now takes every opportunity to share the benefits of his experience (or hindsight) with fellow emerging literary translators to help them stay sane — and keep food on the table.