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Glendon School of Translation student wins top academic prize


4th-year Glendon School of Translation student Gina Létourneau (right) is the winner of this year’s YUFA Undergraduate Scholarship awarded to a Glendon student. One of fifteen awards given out each year at York University to the top student in each Faculty, Gina won based on her academic achievement for the 2007/08 school year.

Outstanding scholarship is not new to Létourneau. A native of the lower Saint-Laurent region of Eastern Quebec, she attended high school in Rimouski, where she won the Governor General’s Medal for the highest marks in the final year of high school. She went on to earn a college diploma in Techniques of Documentation from Cégep François-Xavier-Garneau (Québec).

Typical of translation students, Gina is a mature student with a substantial work history. After several years as a library technician in an elementary school, she was looking for a new career path, something with better prospects for growth and with more intellectual challenges. “I had always liked to read, to write and to learn about language in general, so I thought that translation would be a good choice to suit my interests and my goals for the future”, said Létourneau. As a result, she started her translation studies part-time at Glendon, while continuing to work at the school.

She completed volunteer translation assignments for non-profit organizations during her first year of studies, which confirmed in her mind that this was the right choice for her. After just one year of part-time studies, Létourneau was successful in obtaining a bilingual writer position with the Ontario government, from which she was soon promoted to the position of legislative translator, all the while studying part-time at Glendon. As a government employee, she has also benefited from a number of professional development opportunities in skills related to writing and new communications technologies.

“Working full-time and studying part-time does require discipline, commitment and energy, but for me the payoffs have been immediate and well worth the effort”, confirmed Létourneau, who continues to accept some freelance translation contracts. And as if that wasn’t busy enough, Gina also writes short stories, three of which have been published in Virages magazine.

To date, Létourneau has completed all her translation courses, with just a few required courses left to finish for her Glendon B.A., as well as for her Glendon Certificate of Technical and Professional Writing, expecting to complete both shortly.

“I still very much enjoy my Glendon experience”, commented Létourneau. ”The professors are talented professional translators in a wide array of fields, and the small classes really foster the productive exchange of ideas with professors and other students.” She is also an enthusiastic traveller, who has visited South America, Europe, Atlantic Canada, and is looking forward to seeing Antarctica in the near future.

Létourneau confirms that studying translation opens up many possibilities. The relating job market is healthy and diverse, and there are opportunities to experience different sectors while continuing to improve one’s skills. “I also found that really good translators can actually do much more than just translate”, added Létourneau. “There is always a demand out there for talented individuals with excellent writing, analytical and communication skills in both French and English to work as writers, editors, in communications, even in policy.”

As for the award and what it means for Gina: “….getting high marks is a personal goal for me. This scholarship represents a wonderful recognition of my efforts, and of the care and commitment I put into reaching my goals. I plan to keep working as a translator and keep improving my craft. And who knows where life can take you? I am always open to new experiences and new opportunities. I also want to express my profound thanks to the York University Faculty Association for this generous award.”

More about the YUFA Undergraduate Scholarship Award

A significant donation by the York University Faculty Association has made possible these annual awards of substantial value to the top students in the Faculties of Arts, Atkinson, Education, Environmental Studies, Fine Arts, Glendon, Health, Osgoode, Science and Engineering, and the Schulich School of Business. The recipients will have completed between 60 and 90 credits at York University, achieved the best cumulative grade point average in their Faculty, and will subsequently re-register at York to complete their undergraduate degree program.

An article by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny

Published on October 24, 2008