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Language succession at the Translation Bureau

Both in Canada and around the world, the quantity of documents to translate, meetings to interpret and terminology research to be carried out is constantly increasing. New technologies like machine translation meet certain basic needs, but language specialists’ skills will always be essential for guaranteeing the quality of communications.

Are you passionate about languages? Join Canada’s language sector workforce and help the Translation Bureau meet the translation, interpretation and terminology needs of Parliament and the Government of Canada!

Become a translator

Translators are specialists in written communication. Their work involves transferring written text into another language, all while respecting the message’s meaning and style.

To successfully carry out their work, translators must:

  • have excellent skills in their working languages
  • write clearly and effectively
  • know how to research using paper and electronic resources to support their work
  • be proficient in technolinguistic tools like translation memories and machine translation
  • be able to provide linguistic advice

It is also useful for translators to specialize in a certain field (for example, law, finance) and be proficient in more than 2 languages (proficiency in an Indigenous language or foreign language is an asset).

How to become a translator

Numerous academic institutions across Canada offer translation studies programs. To learn more, visit the web pages of member universities of the Canadian Association of Schools of Translation or look up your province or territory’s order or association of translators.

How to make a career as a translator at the Translation Bureau

In general, the Translation Bureau requires its translators to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in translation. In specialized fields where there is a need, the Translation Bureau may accept a combination of a university degree (certificate, master’s or bachelor’s) in the specified field and a double major in translation (30 credits in language transfer and 15 credits in related courses). In the same way, in foreign languages where there is a need, the Translation Bureau may accept a degree from a recognized post-secondary institution or an acceptable combination of relevant studies, training or experience.

The Translation Bureau mainly employs translators in both official languages, but it is also looking for translators who, in addition to being proficient in an official language, are proficient in a foreign language such as the following:

  • Arabic
  • Mandarin
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Ukrainian

Job opportunities as a translator at the Translation Bureau are posted as the need arises on the Government of Canada Jobs page.

How to enter into a contract to provide translation services to the Translation Bureau

The Translation Bureau works with private-sector suppliers for part of its translation services to Parliament and the Government of Canada. To learn the criteria you need to meet and the procedure for providing your translation services as a firm or self-employed worker, visit the following pages:

Become a conference interpreter

Conference interpreters are specialists in oral communication. Their work involves verbally repeating in another language what someone else says. As the name suggests, conference interpreters work mostly at conferences, meetings, debates and speeches.

Conference interpreters provide their services in the following 3 ways:

  • simultaneous interpretation
    • The interpreter works from a soundproof interpretation booth, connected to the conference room by a system of microphones and headphones. In real time, the interpreter repeats what people say in the room in another language, and the system relays the interpretation through attendees’ headphones.
  • consecutive interpretation
    • The interpreter is in the same room as the people speaking. The interpreter takes notes while people speak, and then the interpreter summarizes what people said in a different language.
  • whispered interpretation
    • Also known as elbow interpretation. While whispering, the interpreter immediately repeats in another language what is said during the conference. The interpreter is positioned right next to the person or people who need their services so that those people can hear the interpretation without disturbing the rest of the audience.

To successfully carry out their work, conference interpreters must:

  • have excellent skills in their working languages
  • have good documentation, research and organization abilities
  • be able to concentrate to understand what is being said and simultaneously repeat it in the target language
  • be able to keep calm under pressure
  • have the confidence needed to express themselves in front of other people

It is also useful for conference interpreters to be proficient in more than 2 languages.

To learn more about the conference interpretation profession, watch Our people at work—Carly Johnson, parliamentary interpreter.

How to become a conference interpreter

You generally need a master’s degree to become a conference interpreter. Two (2) academic institutions in Canada offer the master of conference interpreting:

Relevant experience in conference interpretation or another type of interpretation may suffice, as may other relevant studies in the language field.

How to make a career as a conference interpreter at the Translation Bureau

The Translation Bureau requires its interpreters to pass its accreditation exam, which requires experience in conference interpretation at a minimum. A master of conference interpreting is an asset.

Job opportunities as a conference interpreter at the Translation Bureau are posted as the need arises on the Government of Canada Jobs page.

Given its pressing official-language needs, the Translation Bureau generally offers employment to anyone who passes its official languages accreditation exam and anyone who obtains a master of conference interpreting in official languages from Glendon campus at York University or the University of Ottawa.

How to enter into a contract to provide conference interpretation services to the Translation Bureau

The Translation Bureau works with private-sector suppliers for part of its conference interpretation services to Parliament and the Government of Canada. To learn the criteria you need to meet and the procedure for providing your conference interpretation services as a firm or self-employed worker, visit the following pages:

Become a sign language interpreter

Sign language interpreters are specialists in communication between Deaf and hearing people. Their work involves using sign language to repeat what someone says out loud or, vice versa, repeat out loud what someone says in sign language.

Sign language is generally provided simultaneously, that is, the interpreter immediately repeats what is said in sign language or out loud. The interpreter may work at the event or remotely, from a professional studio or their home.

To successfully carry out their work, sign language interpreters must:

  • have excellent skills in their working languages
  • have good preparation and organization skills
  • be able to concentrate to understand what is being said and simultaneously repeat it in the target language
  • be able to keep calm under pressure
  • have the confidence needed to express themselves in front of other people

There are many sign languages. In Parliament and at the Government of Canada, the main sign languages used are American Sign Language and Langue des signes québécoise (Quebec Sign Language).

How to become a sign language interpreter

Numerous academic institutions across Canada offer programs of study in sign language interpretation. To learn more, visit Sign languages—Interpreter training and resources for professionals in the Language Portal of Canada.

How to make a career as a sign language interpreter at the Translation Bureau

Sign language interpreters at the Translation Bureau must pass its accreditation exam, which requires at least a college diploma. Other studies, including a recognized degree in sign language interpretation, are also required to secure a position.

Job opportunities as a sign language interpreter at the Translation Bureau are posted as the need arises on the Government of Canada Jobs page.

How to enter into a contract to provide sign language interpretation services to the Translation Bureau

The Translation Bureau works with private-sector suppliers for part of the sign language interpretation services it provides to Parliament and the Government of Canada. To learn the criteria you need to meet and the procedure for providing your sign language interpretation services as a firm or self-employed worker, visit Offering your interpretation services in sign languages.

Become a terminologist

Terminologists are specialists in specialized words and language. Their work involves consulting specialized texts to tease out field-specific terms, conducting research to confirm the meaning and accuracy of those terms, and writing definitions and creating glossaries to standardize those terms’ use. Terminologists recommend the correct term to use to refer to a concept or create the term themselves if it does not exist.

Terminologists may work in one or multiple languages. At the Translation Bureau, terminologists generally work in both official languages.

To successfully carry out their work, terminologists must:

  • have excellent skills in their working languages
  • have a passion for in-depth research
  • have good synthesizing abilities to summarize their research findings
  • use sound judgment to analyze terminology issues and propose solutions
  • demonstrate attention to detail
  • have good computer skills

How to become a terminologist

There are few terminology programs of study. Generally, terminology courses are provided as part of translation studies programs, and a translation degree is sufficient to become a terminologist. To learn more about translation studies programs, visit the web pages of member universities of the Canadian Association of Schools of Translation or look up your province or territory’s order or association of translators.

How to make a career as a terminologist at the Translation Bureau

In general, the Translation Bureau requires its terminologists to have a university degree in terminology, translation, linguistics or any other relevant specialty.

Job opportunities as a terminologist at the Translation Bureau are posted as the need arises on the Government of Canada Jobs page.

How to enter into a contract to provide terminology services at the Translation Bureau

The Translation Bureau keeps a directory of suppliers for the few occasions when it needs help from the private sector to obtain terminology services. To learn the criteria you need to meet and the procedure for providing your terminology services as a self-employed worker or firm, visit Offering your terminology services.

Do a language internship at the Translation Bureau

Every year, the Translation Bureau welcomes dozens of translation, interpretation and terminology interns. There are a number of ways to do a language internship at the Translation Bureau.

Co-op program

Some academic institutions have internship agreements with the Translation Bureau as part of their co-op programs. If your academic institution has a co-op program, contact the head of the program to determine the possibilities of a co-op internship at the Translation Bureau.

Federal Student Work Experience Program

The Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) is a Government of Canada-wide program. It provides access to student job opportunities in all federal departments and organizations across Canada.

Participating in FSWEP is simple: first, make sure that you meet the eligibility criteria listed on the Federal Student Work Experience Program web page, then apply from the web page and indicate the job you are looking for.

Three (3) times a year (in September for winter internships, January for summer internships and May for fall internships), the Translation Bureau extracts a certain number of applications from the FSWEP platform according to the number of internships it can offer. Note that applications are extracted randomly, so applying to FSWEP does not guarantee being offered an internship.

Collaborative Training Program

The Collaborative Training Program stems from an agreement between the Translation Bureau and the Canadian Association of Schools of Translation. This unpaid credit-course internship is reserved for translation students from member universities of the Association who are in their 2nd year of a 3-year undergraduate program (in Quebec) or their 3rd or 4th year of a 4-year undergraduate program (in the other provinces) or who are completing a master’s degree.

Participants in the Collaborative Training Program are grouped into teams of 3. For 12 straight weeks, the teams are asked to translate around 1,500 words per week. In turns, two team members translate the text and the third member revises the translation. The translation is then sent to a Translation Bureau translator, who assesses the quality of the work and provides feedback and advice to the team.

To participate in the Collaborative Training Program, make sure that your academic institution is one of the member universities of the Canadian Association of Schools of Translation and contact your institution’s internship coordinator.

Legal translation internship

In accordance with an agreement between the Translation Bureau and McGill University, people enrolled in McGill University’s Graduate Diploma in Legal Translation can do a legal translation internship at the Translation Bureau. This unpaid internship takes the form of a course worth 3 credits in the program of study.

To learn more, visit the McGill SCS Graduate Diploma in Legal Translation web page.

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