Glendon Professor Daniel Simeoni dies of a heart attack

Daniel Simeoni, a professor in Glendon’s School of Translation, director of the Master’s Program in Translation and member of the graduate program in the humanities, died Sunday following a heart attack two days earlier. He was 58.

A funeral service will be held today at 4pm at Morley Bedford Funeral Services, 159 Eglinton Ave. West. In lieu of flowers, the Daniel Simeoni Fund at the York University Foundation has been set up. Donations can be made by cheque to the York University Foundation, indicating the Daniel Simeoni Fund, and sent to the foundation in the West Office Building.

Right: Daniel Simeoni

“Daniel’s death is a terrible loss for Glendon, both as an institution and as a community,” said Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts.

Arriving at York University in 1999, Prof. Simeoni was passionate about translation and how language is influenced by a variety of elements, culturally and socially. His work led him to explore the sociology of translation. He was, however, interested in more than just the mechanics of translation – the systems and structures; he was interested in the people, the translators.

Born in France, Prof. Simeoni received his training in theoretical and formal linguistics at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. As his interest in the practices and concept of translation began to shift from the structural and normative aspects of translation to the sociology of translators, he distinguished himself as the first person to introduce the notion of habitus to the field.

"He showed his devotion to his work this summer as he strove to develop a proposal for a doctoral program in translation," said Canadace Seguinot, Chair of Glendon’s School of Translation. "He was also active in Glendon’s Centre for Research on Language Contact and was currently working with researchers in a number of universities on aspects of translation and culture.

“In the short time that Daniel was at York, and it was remarkably short, Daniel won the friendship and admiration of colleagues in all the programs he worked with. He was a fixture in the college: in-depth discussions in the corridor as the day began, personal visits to problem-solve, and always a smile (and sometimes a glass of wine) over lunch,” said Seguinot.

One of his many accomplishments included being chosen by the community of translation scholars as the Chair of the Research Centre for Translation, Communication and Cultures (CETRA), based in San Pellegrino, Italy. In 2005, Prof. Simeoni travelled to San Pellegrino to deliver a series of lectures to CETRA’s membership. The organization is a forum where nearly 200 participants from five continents, mostly at the doctoral level, come together to study both the cultural and communicational aspects of translation.

Prof. Simeoni’s dedication also stretched to his students. “Daniel’s unfailing enthusiasm for my research and that of other students was inspiring. He was a gentle critic, an innovative teacher and a supportive and imaginative adviser. He taught me what it is to be a dedicated member of the university community,” said Lyse Hébert, a recent graduate of the MA in Translation Program who is now a PhD candidate at York.  Hébert was working on her doctorate at under Prof. Simeoni’s supervision.

His latest work, co-edited with Anthony Pym et Miriam Shlesinger, Beyond Descriptive Translation Studies. Investigations in Homage to Gideon Toury, will be published by John Benjamins later this year.

Prof Simeoni is survived by his wife, Professor Adrienne Chambon of the Department of Social Work at the University of Toronto.

The Centre for Language Contact Open House, scheduled for this afternoon, will now be postponed. Plans are being in the works for a memorial service to be held at Glendon at a later date.