York school shines a spotlight on translation

Glendon celebrated International Translation Day Sept. 28 by bringing together professional translators and interpreters, York translation professors and students for an evening of presentations and a chance to network.

Co-hosted by Glendon’s School of Translation and the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO), the annual event this year focused on the theme Many Languages, One Profession. As the International Federation of Translators notes: “From Abenaki to Zulu, there are some 6,800 languages in the world. The translation profession is almost as old as the most ancient languages: as soon as there was interaction beyond one’s immediate community, there was a need for an interpreter. In today’s global village, how would the world manage without the services of these language professionals?”

A highlight of the evening was the annual distribution of awards of excellence by ATIO to outstanding Glendon students in translation.

Right: Prof. Rosalind Gill (left); School of Translation director Marie-Christine Aubin (centre) and ATIO VP Nancy McInnis (right) announce award winners

Diane Gagné, currently enrolled in Glendon’s MA Program in Translation, won an award for highest average in her final year. Fourth-year translation student Veronica Cappella, pursuing a specialized BA as well as a Spanish-English Translation Certificate, received an ATIO scholarship for overall academic excellence. Virginie Langlois, in her third year of translation studies, received a scholarship from the national Réseau des traducteurs et des traductrices en éducation (Network of Translators in Education) for the highest average in second year.

“Events like International Translation Day are very valuable networking opportunities for translators in Toronto,” said Gagné. “This is both an academic and a work-related event, where participants can speak with professors and other translation alumni. When searching for a university known for its excellent translation program, the obvious choice is Glendon.”

Keynote speakers of the evening were Ian Martin, Glendon English professor and coordinator of the Glendon Certificate Program in the Discipline of Teaching English as an International Language (D-TEIL), and ATIO vice-president Nancy McInnis, who has co-hosted International Translation Day celebrations at Glendon since 2002.

In his talk on respecting linguistic diversity, Martin pointed to a clear link between the preservation of different world views and diverse languages. He highlighted language issues in Nunavut, where he has been actively involved in an attempt to develop bilingual (English-Inuktitut) education and community development. “As languages are homogenized, there is loss of linguistic as well as ideological diversity,” said Martin. He noted an interesting parallel between the loss of linguistic diversity and biological diversity. “The idea that Canada’s linguistic identity is contained in the English-French linguistic duality represents a great advance over the concept of unity. But it is a limited vision, one which is little more than a precursor of respect for diversity,” said Martin.

He pointed to the activities of Terralingua, a non-profit, international organization dedicated to promoting diversity in nature and culture, as an outstanding example of work in the field of language preservation. Martin also emphasized the importance of learning languages in social as well as academic environments. “An excellent example is the French-English reality at Glendon, where language learning is a lived experience,” he said. “I feel very fortunate to be able to interact in a linguistic duality every day at Glendon.”

McInnis offered practical advice for both aspiring and seasoned translators. Based on her experience as a freelance translator, McInnis proposed five points as vital for success in a translation career: obtaining a degree to establish credibility; acquiring appropriate training and experience; remembering cultural context when translating; getting involved and networking in appropriate organizations, such as ATIO; and building trust with clients by being reliable and realistic about accepting work.

“Events such as this one are very important,” added McInnis, “because students are exposed to the working world and find out about career options and opportunities. Once they have graduated, freelancers often work in isolation and benefit greatly from a chance to meet and discuss with other professionals in their field.”

Left: Glendon administrative secretary Aileen Rakocevic makes all the food for this annual event

The next event hosted by the Glendon School of Translation will be Alumni Night during the winter term. For more details about this event, visit the school’s Web site.

This article was submitted to YFile by Marika Kemeny and Marie Maher of the Glendon Recruitment & Marketing Department.