The Glendon School of Translation has just been awarded $400,018 by the Government of Canada for scholarships and bursaries. This important news was made public by the School’s Chair, Professor Andrew Clifford, at the School of Translation’s Alumni Night on March 31st.
“The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, announced on March 18th the signing of five contribution agreements for university scholarships and internships that will strengthen Canada’s official languages”, stated Clifford, quoting from the government’s official news release. “The agreements support the federal government’s Canadian Language Sector Enhancement Program, which favors the development of a skilled workforce and integrates language technologies.”
L-r, front row: professors Marie-Christine Aubin, Aurelia Klimkiewicz and Julianna Drexler; students Durr-E-Ajam Tahir, Sean Van Wert and Nicholas Torti; back row: professor Andrew Clifford, School of Translation secretary Fiona Hansen, students Abigail Leavens and Kathleen Dodd-Moher, professor Sylvie Clamageran and student Anna Syska
Alumni Night welcomed a large gathering of current students and graduates, who were delighted to hear the great news about the newly received government funds. They also came to hear about recent trends in the field from practitioners, as well as to benefit from networking opportunities.
The recipients of the first scholarships and bursaries covered by the new funds were announced at Alumni Night. Those who were awarded the Merit Scholarship for the BA Honours in Translation - a 3-year renewable award of $6,000 per year - included Abigail Leavens, Filipe Pereira, Durr-E- Ajam Tahir and Nicholas Torti.
The Merit Scholarship for the Accelerated BA in Translation (2-year renewable awards of $6,000 a year) went to Kathleen Dodd-Moher, Abir Fadl, Heather Kearney, Julia Kuzeljevich, Anna Syska and Sean Van Wert.
In addition, two students in financial need received bursaries of $2,000 each.
“This scholarship will fully cover my educational expenses for the coming school year”, said Kathleen Dodd-Moher, a translation student entering her final year. “It is a huge advantage enabling me to concentrate entirely on my studies and on preparing for a career.”
Scholarship winners, from left to right: Abigail Leavens, Kathleen
Dodd-Moher, Durr-E-Ajam Tahir, Anna Syska, Sean Van Wert and Nicholas Torti
Professor Clifford introduced the four speakers of the evening, among them 3 alumni of the School of Translation, and one external representative of the profession, Sharon Steinberg, Director of Operations for CLS Lexi-tech International Inc.’s Toronto office. Lexi-tech is Canada’s largest private service language provider and, under Steinberg’s leadership, its Toronto office has grown from a sales office into a multilingual centre of excellence.
Steinberg spoke about the importance of new technologies in the field of translation and the need for translation professionals, whether in jobs or working freelance, to be proficient in using them. She provided a bird’s eye view of the translation profession’s transition, from manuscripts, to typewritten copy, to today’s computer-based realities. “The old days and old ways are past”, said Steinberg, “and the new tools enable us to work faster and produce more professional documents. […] Researching on the Internet also provides us with almost infinite amounts of information.” Steinberg commented that with electronic communications, translators today can work from anywhere in the world. The internationally available technology has also given rise to translating from many different languages, especially in multilingual and multicultural locations such as Toronto, where French represents only 2% of the demographic mix.
Right: Sharon Steinberg
“With a shortage of qualified translators, organizations have turned to importing professionals from Europe, as well as resorting to computer-aided translations and other tools.” These include a variety of desktop-publishing devices and machine translations. Today’s translation practitioners need to be proficient in the use of these tools.
“Today’s challenges in the field of translation include a lack of practical training, experience, or at times, even awareness of standard tools. Without these, it is impossible to produce polished, finished work at the speed that is expected. In addition, the rapidly aging population of experienced translators is not being replaced at the level of demand.”
Steinberg’s company provides leadership in the industry by training students and new professionals in these technologies. She added that school curricula should include practical experience on technical translation tools for at least an academic year, assignments with realistic time limits, and co-ops of 3 to 6 months.
“Specialization separates you from the pack and membership in professional associations underlines your professional standing, as well as opening up a wider network of opportunities. Over the next five years, financial, pharmaceutical and automotive specializations will be among those most needed.”
Right: Lovina Udhin
Three Glendon graduates provided brief updates of their current professional involvements. Lovina Udhin (Glendon BA in Translation 2007) is working as French Content Editor for CIBC Retail Markets, her first professional job since graduating. “I had no prior experience in banking terminology and had to learn a great deal fast. My Glendon courses in research techniques, documentation and terminology proved to be very useful.” Udhin stated that the industry standard is 1500 words per day in translation and 7000 words per day in revision. She confirmed that with experience and with specialization in a single field, fulfilling these requirements becomes easier.
Erin Baswick (Glendon BA in Translation 2005; MA studies 2009) has been working for the past five years as a proposal writer for Honeywell, Energy Solutions Canada. During her Glendon years as a translation student, she also completed her Certificate of Technical and Professional Writing, which was what landed her the job. “My advice is not to be too concerned about the details of job descriptions. Some skills overlap and others can be quickly learned.”
Left: Erin Baswick
At present, Baswick leads a team of technical proposal writers. “I had to develop the skills needed and put in long hours on my own. With the constant pressure to produce, others working in the field did not have time to teach me.”
Baswick found that the Glendon skills preparation was useful, especially in the area of research. “Translation requires continuous learning”, said Baswick, “and the benefit of large companies is that they sponsor continued education. I also received lots of useful advice from Glendon’s translation department and took advantage of every opportunity that was offered.”
Anthony Michael (Glendon MA in Translation 2005) is working for Service Canada (Government of Canada) as a language quality advisor, doing both revisions and translations. His past experience included translating for a magazine, as well as producing publicity for HMV Records. When he started his current job, there were five translators in the team; now there are only two of them to do an ever-increasing volume of work. “Those who provide the work often have no understanding of the other language, or what it takes to complete the assignment and the research it implies and, as a result, deadlines can be very short. Since there is a lot of repetition of terms and acronyms in our line of work, we are able to use MULTITRANS to help us do translations faster”, he said.
Right: Anthony Michael
Michael’s advice to new translators applying for jobs is “to include all the technologies you know and all your former experience, because you never know what additional skills might get you the job. There is a lot of work out there and what you need to do is to keep applying.”
Professor Clifford confirmed the need for professional training and hands-on experience, as well as the fact that more and more jobs require a translation degree. He expressed his thanks to the Government of Canada for its significant support towards Glendon’s training top language professionals of the future, who are essential for maintaining Canada’s official linguistic duality.
Article submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny