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Glendon School of Translation’s Alumni Night a Window on Current Workplace


Glendon’s annual Translation Alumni Night boasted record participation on May 14th , bringing many benefits to those in attendance. The evening enabled alumni to keep in touch with the School, its professors and its activities. It was also an opportunity for alumni and current students to meet and exchange information. Equally important, Alumni Night provided a networking opportunity among graduates, and an insight for current students into the leap from school to the workplace.

The big news announced by Francine Kennedy, CEO of the Translation Bureau of Canada and keynote speaker at Alumni Night, was the major demographic shift in the translation profession. With so many professionals having retired or on the cusp, there is a crisis – a significant lack of available practitioners.

Right: Glendon translation alumna Claudette Wood

Kennedy provided a number of examples of great dearth of translators in the field, including the situation at the military base at Camp Borden, just north of Toronto, where there is a desperate search for translators into French.

Kennedy announced the launching of a brand new program for dealing with this crisis by the Translation Bureau of Canada. It is a two-pronged approach under the title Canadian Language Sector Enhancement Program. On the one hand, a university scholarship initiative of $8 million over 4 years has been announced, with proposals for new scholarships to be submitted by universities as early as this summer. The second part of the program, with the title The Language Industry Initiative, is designating $10 million over 4 years, with a view to promoting and enhancing the language industry in Canada.

Left: Translation School grad Delphine Bregent

“I am very grateful for this opportunity to be addressing so many students and alumni of the School of Translation”, said Kennedy. “Frankly, we need you.”

Following Kennedy’s presentation, four translation graduates, representing various specializations, talked about their work experiences. Two Anglophone Bachelor of Translation grads, Delphine Brégent working in Toronto, and Veronica Cappella, working in Gatineau (near Ottawa) are both employed by the federal Translation Bureau. They expressed their enjoyment of the job security and the variety of interesting projects in which they are participating.

Right: Translation School grad Lida Nosrati

MA in translation graduate Claudette Wood is a Francophone professional working from home in the Toronto region. She spoke enthusiastically about her many opportunities of working in a variety of fields, such as the pharmaceutical and finance industries.

Lida Nosrati, who also holds an MA from the Glendon School of Translation, is an Allophone whose first language is Farsi. Nosrati was highly successful in navigating her Glendon courses in English and French. She was then able to transfer the skills she had acquired to her first language. Currently, she is a much sought-after freelance community interpreter in the Persian community of Toronto.

Francine Kennedy (at centre), CEO, Translation Bureau of Canada speaks with Glendon students and alumni

“There are two important conclusions to be drawn from this alumni event”, said Andrew Clifford, Chair of Glendon’s School of Translation. “As a professional program, the School [of Translation] straddles that line of, on the one hand, providing students with the intellectual foundations of a liberal arts education; and on the other hand, providing the professional training our graduates need to be able to work effectively. In the latter, the contact with our alumni is key. The second conclusion to be drawn from this event is that, given what is happening [in the translation field] demographically, this school has to be a part of the solution to this crisis and rise to the challenge of the industry’s needs.”

Article by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny

Published on May 21, 2009