13th CTS Professionalisation Talk 2018-19

On 25 February 2019, Stéphan Déry and Louis-André Lepage talked to CTS students at the University of Leeds on the services of the Translation Bureau of Canada.

Stéphan and Louis-André of the Translation Bureau of Canada, an institution of the Canadian government, talked to students on the translation services of the Bureau.

Stéphan Déry, Translation Bureau Chief Executive Officer, started off with an introduction to Canada’s bilingual legislation. In 1969, the Canadian government passed the Official Languages Act, a law which required the federal government to publish all public documents in both English and French, the official languages of Canada. This created a huge demand for translators, interpreters, and terminologists. This year marks the Act’s 50th anniversary. There is a renewed interest in the recognition and promotion of indigenous languages in Canada, which means high demand for translators and interpreters. Right now, Louis-André, vice president of Linguistic Services of the Bureau and Stéphan are touring around Europe, giving presentations about the Bureau with the aim of attracting translators and interpreters to Canada and building collaboration with other institutions.

Created in 1934, the Translation Bureau of Canada was once the largest employer of translators in the world. However, due to government cutbacks and a shift toward machine translation (MT) the Bureau had no new hires between 2011-2016. The reliance on MT led to poor quality translations and highlighted the need for professionally trained linguists. Under new government leadership, the Bureau was given a mandate to enhance the quality and capacity of it’s services and adapt to the digital transformation of the language industry. Today, the Bureau uses digital resources such as in-house computer assisted translation (CAT) tools, the Termium Plus terminology database, and the Language Portal of Canada. The Bureau translates approximately 325 million words per year, including 50 million for parliament. There is so much content to translate that the Bureau has to outsource 40% of this to the private sector, including all of the content for subtitling (Stéphan and Louis-André noted how impressed they were with the subtitling training students receive as part of the MA in Audiovisual Translation Studies). The growing demand for translation output (Canada represents 10% of global market but only 3% of population) combined with a scarcity of professionally trained translators and interpreters, has led the Bureau to increase collaboration with universities, professional and governmental associations, and international partners. The speakers noted that the goals of this collaboration are to train and recruit a new layer of translators and interpreters and to incorporate the newest technology related to neural machine translation and programme management software into the Bureau’s workflow.

The speakers explained the opportunities that the Translation Bureau of Canada can offer to students. To start with, English-French interpreters are in great demand. Translators specialising in the fields of engineering, law, and biomedicine are also in demand. The speakers also emphasised the need for translators who have experience with post-editing machine translation. Although, the Bureau mostly works with French and English, other languages like Chinese are also commonly used in Canada. All prospective linguists hoping to work with the Bureau must pass their accreditation exam. Once hired, the Bureau offers career opportunities in numerous cities across Canada. If you are interested in living and working as a professional linguist in Canada, Stéphan and Louis-André encourage you to apply with the Translation Bureau of Canada!

Report written by UoL CTS students.