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Dramatic Licence
Translating Theatre from One Official Language to the Other in Canada
Louise Ladouceur
Translator Richard Lebeau
Foreword E. D. Blodgett
Translation is tricky business. The translator has to transform the foreign to the familiar while moving and pleasing his or her audience. Louise Ladouceur knows theatre from a multi-dimensional perspective that gives her research a particular authority as she moves between two of the dominant cultures of Canada: French and English. Through the analysis of six plays from each linguistic repertoire, written and translated between 1961 and 2000, her award-winning book compares the complexities of a translation process shaped by the power struggle between Canada’s two official languages. The winner of the Prix Gabrielle-Roy and the Ann Saddlemyer Book Award, Dramatic Licence addresses issues important to scholars and students of Translation Studies, Canadian Literature and Theatre Studies, as well as theatre practitioners and translators. The University of Alberta Press acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada, through the National Translation Program for Book Publishing, for our translation activities.
Format:  Trade Paperback
ISBN:  978-0-88864-538-8
Price:  CND$ 34.95, USD$ 34.95, £ 29.5
Discount:  Trade
Subject:  Translation Studies/Canadian Literature/Theatre Studies
Publication Date:  July 2012
"The sixty-two introductory pages demonstrate the impeccable care with which Ladouceur has approached not only her research, but also her explanations for the reader. While the discipline of translation studies has a broad following, its particular problematics applied to theatre are less well known; however, anyone with an interest in the area will find in this book a rock-solid introduction to build on. Ladouceur has also given an invaluable context enabling one to understand the highly detailed analysis that follows through the rest of the book.... Ladouceur’s superb scholarship will now be able to inspire a broader range of students and scholars of translation, theatre, and Canadian Studies.”
Glen Nichols, Canadian Theatre Review, Fall 2013
Although the study focuses on the unique situation of translating drama between two official languages, its well-thought-out methodological framework makes it applicable to other contexts as well.... Ladouceur's excellent analysis is divided into six chapters.... All in all, Ladouceur's book is a highly inspiring and thought-provoking study of theatre translation in a specific context with two official languages. The analysis is very well conducted and summaries help the reader to see the wood for the trees. The study is essential reading for anyone interested in theatre translation and translation of literary works.”
Sirkku Aaltonen, Target 25:3, 2013
"Dramatic Licence, which was originally published in French in 2005 and has been translated by Richard Lebeau, runs a fine-tooth comb over 12 plays — six that went from English into French, and six the other way — from the past 50 years, including works by Michel Tremblay and Edmonton’s own Brad Fraser. What Ladouceur discovered was that all of her samples underwent significant changes along the way. Sometimes references to specific street names or cultural figures were erased; sometimes the entire tone of the play was altered to make it more palatable for the new audiences.... Dramatic Licence is a valuable resource for anyone interested in issues of translation, Québécois culture, or Canadian theatre in general.”
Michael Hingston, Edmonton Journal, October 7, 2012
"Perhaps the most salient feature of translating, says Ladouceur (theater and translation, U. of Alberta-Saint-Jean), is that drama in French is invariably from Quebec, and so considered Québécois, whereas drama in English is considered Canadian. She looks at literary translation in Canada, from one stage to the other, translating for the stage, descriptive analyses of the French repertoire translated into English and the English repertoire translated into French, and a comparison of the repertoires in translation.”
Book News Inc., 2013
“Dramatic Licence shows the complexity that often comes with translation, and keeping the original power of the words. Studying many plays written throughout the second half of the twentieth century, Dramatic Licence is a strong addition to any language studies or theatre studies collection, highly recommended.”
The Midwest Book Review, The Language Studies Shelf

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