Glendon’s Translation Alumni Night sheds light on need for translators

Glendon’s recent annual Translation Alumni Night was an opportunity for York School of Translation alumni to network with each other as well as current students, providing them with insight into making the leap from school to the workplace. The May 14 event boasted record participation and an announcement by Francine Kennedy, CEO of the Translation Bureau of Canada and the evening’s keynote speaker, on the state of the translation profession in Canada.

Left: Francine Kennedy (centre), CEO of the Translation Bureau of Canada, talking with students and alumni

There is a major demographic shift in the translation profession happening right now. With so many professionals having retired or on the cusp of retiring, there is a crisis – a significant lack of available practitioners, said Kennedy.

Among several examples, Kennedy cited the situation at the Canadian Forces Base Borden, just north of Toronto, where there is a desperate need for translators into French. 

Right: Graduate Program in Translation alumna Claudette Wood

To help alleviate the dearth of translators, Kennedy announced the launch of the Canadian Language Sector Enhancement Program by the Translation Bureau of Canada. It is a two-pronged approach with the first being a university scholarship initiative of $8 million over four years with proposals for new scholarships to be submitted by universities as early as this summer. The second part of the program, the Language Industry Initiative, will designate $10 million over four years with a view to promoting and enhancing the language industry in Canada.  

“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.”

Left: Lida Nosrati, alumna of the Graduate Program in Translation

Following Kennedy’s presentation, four translation graduates, representing various specializations, talked about their work experiences.

Two anglophone translation grads, Delphine Brégent (BA Spec. Hons. ’07), working in Toronto, and Veronica Cappella (BA Hons. ’08), working in Gatineau (near Ottawa), are both employed by the Translation Bureau of Canada. They said they enjoyed the job security offered by the position as well as the variety of interesting projects in which they are participating.

Graduate Program in Translation graduate Claudette Wood (MA ’99) 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.

 Right: School of Translation alumna Delphine Brégent

Lida Nosrati (MA ’08), a graduate of the Graduate Program in 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.

“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 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.”

Submitted to YFile by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny