Please enable Java in your browser's "Options" (or "Preferance") menu to view this page Concordia's Thursday Report____________March 18, 1999

Translating on the job

by Véronique Jouhaud

Translation students are gaining valuable hands-on experience through a new partnership between Concordia's Départment d'Études françaises and the federal government's Translation Bureau.

"It's an excellent program," said second-year student Renata Isajlovic. "It's an eye-opener as to what students can expect to translate once they're in the workforce."

Isajlovic, who is also participating in the Co-op in Translation program, is one of eight students in the University Partnership Program, which started in January at Concordia and other Canadian universities. It was designed by the Translation Bureau and the Association Canadienne des Écoles de Traduction to train and recruit translators.

The Translation Bureau expects each student to attend a minimum of two sessions of the program. Students have to translate 700 words a week for 13 weeks. The flexibility of the program enables them to translate the texts at home and search the governmental databases from one of the three computers lent to Études françaises by the Translation Bureau.

Translation Francophones translate texts dealing with economic issues, while anglophones work on texts ranging from the environment to transportation. They are not paid for their work, but receive three credits and one-on-one detailed revision of each text.

"It can be compared to a private translation lesson," said Marthe Catry-Verron, the Translation Co-op Director and partnership program coordinator. "Each student has their own text to translate, and the reviser gives them full attention. In a regular classroom, there is one text for 30 students, and the instructor presents his or her own translation, and definitely less opportunity for interaction."

Each student meets individually with a qualified reviser from the Translation Bureau once a week. "Revisers edit the students' translations carefully and in depth, since the Translation Bureau itself will be judged by its clients for the quality of its work," she explained.

The mid-program evaluation, which was conducted in March, reveals a significant improvement in these students' work. "They are learning the preferences of the Translation Bureau and the federal government," Catry-Verron said. "They've also assimilated all the comments made during the revision of their texts."

Études françaises is encouraging its Translation students to gain hands-on experience while attending university. Over the years, the department has integrated into the Translation curriculum the co-op program, the mandatory internship in the diploma program, and now the university partnership program.

"We are doing all we can to integrate our students into the workforce," Catry-Verron said. "We adapt our program to respond to the needs of the job market."

The Translation Bureau plans to offer successful interns a four-month paid internship in the summer and a six-month contract upon graduation. Her participation in the partnership program has helped Isajlovic get a co-op internship at the Translation Bureau starting this May. She hopes to continue her association with the Bureau.

"It would be a great opportunity to work for them. They have great resources, a wonderful documentation centre and experienced translators who are happy to share their expertise with new translators."

The Translation Bureau is a division of Public Works and Government Services Canada. It serves not only the federal government, but also international organizations and the private sector.

Copyright 1999 Concordia's Thursday Report.