Student Translation Project

The Oxford edition of Voltaire’s Œuvres complètes contains much new material, and is therefore likely to be of considerable interest to scholars from a wide range of disciplines all of whom may not easily read French. The student translation project, piloted in a partnership between the Voltaire Foundation and the Translation Studies department at the University of Bristol, is in the early stages of beginning to fill that gap. Among the most significant achievements in the OCV print edition is the first publication since 1775 of Voltaire’s Questions sur l’Encyclopédie, which could be considered a compendium of his thought on many subjects, and only parts of which have in the past been translated into English. Taking this work as a starting point, the student translation project will make an important contribution to research and scholarship. It offers a new integrated model for translation production which links different translation producers (trainee student translators, translation specialists, authors and editors) in a virtual network within the wider research environment of the Digital Enlightenment project.

As a pilot, a first MA student has successfully completed her translation and received her degree. Roseanne Silverwood’s translation, of the Questions article ‘Goût’ (Taste) was is now available to read. Three more students have been recruited to the project and will benefit from feedback from the pilot, which led to some tweaks in the guidelines. Our contact at Bristol, Dr Adrienne Mason, has set up a virtual learning environment with resources for students. The goal, in Phase 2, is to extend the project to more universities. For efficiency’s sake, it is envisaged that existing, out-of-copyright translations would be used, with changes where necessary, in line with the approach used in Digital d’Holbach. The advantages of this strand of Digital Voltaire are many: new translations will become available to the scholarly community; students will gain experience and new qualifications; these graduates will soon see their work published online; and finally, an extended network of scholars and translators will be built and continually strengthened, potentially on a global scale.

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