Glendon School of Translation receives government funding for scholarships

On March 18, Rona Ambrose, minister of public works & government services, announced that the Glendon School of Translation would receive $400,018 for scholarships and bursaries. Less than two weeks later at alumni night, the school’s chair, Professor Andrew Clifford, was handing out the first of the new funds to students.

The Merit Scholarship for the Honours BA in Translation, a three-year renewable award of $6,000 per year, went to Abigail Leavens, Filipe Pereira, Durr-E-Ajam Tahir and Nicholas Torti.

Left: From left, Abigail Leavens, Kathleen Dodd-Moher, Durr-E-Ajam Tahir, Anna Syska, Sean Van Wert and Nicholas Torti

Students Kathleen Dodd-Moher, Abir Fadl, Heather Kearney, Julia Kuzeljevich, Anna Syska and Sean Van Wert received the Merit Scholarship for the Accelerated BA in Translation, a two-year renewable award of $6,000 a year.

“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.”

Right: Sharon Steinberg

In addition, two students in financial need received bursaries of $2,000 each. York was one of five institutions awarded contribution agreements for scholarships and internships to support its translation program.

Three of the evening’s four speakers were alumni of the School of Translation; the fourth was an 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 translation and linguistic services provider.

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.

Right: Lovina Udhin

“The new tools enable us to work faster and produce more professional documents," said Steinberg. "Researching on the Internet also provides us with almost infinite amounts of information.”

She noted 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 two per cent of the demographic mix.

“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,” Steinberg said. These include a variety of desktop publishing devices and machine translations. Current translation practitioners need to be proficient in the use of these tools. Specialization is also an advantage. "Over the next five years, financial, pharmaceutical and automotive specializations will be among those most needed," she said.

Left: Erin Baswick

Lovina Udhin (BA Comb. Hons. ’07), who is working as a French content editor for CIBC Retail Markets, said, “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 said the industry standard is 1,500 words per day in translation and 7,000 words per day in revision. She confirmed that with experience and with specialization in a single field, fulfilling these requirements becomes easier.  

Erin Baswick (BA ’05, MA ’10) 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 Technical & Professional Writing Certificate, 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.”

Right: Anthony Michael

Anthony Michael (MA ’02) is working for Service Canada as a language quality adviser, doing both revisions and translations. His past experience included translating for a magazine, as well as producing publicity for HMV. When he started his current job, there were five translators in the team, now there are only two. “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.

Submitted by Marika Kemeny, Glendon communications officer