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By Riteba McCallum
October 25, 2019

How to Become a Translator: Programs Offered in and Around Montreal

Being a translator gives you an inside glance at almost any sector or industry imaginable. It allows you to expand your general knowledge while grappling with different expressions, dialects, idioms and other linguistic and regional quirks. It’s a career that combines your knack for concision with your writerly pen, and your innate curiosity with your eye for detail.

Advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning might be changing the face of the translation industry, but demand for skilled experts who can use these tools to craft high-quality communications is as strong as ever.

But to become a translator, where do you start?

Here’s a complete list of the main programs offered in Montreal and Sherbrooke. Combined with your passion, they’re an excellent starting point to launch yourself into a promising career.

McGill University

The School of Continuing Studies at the prestigious McGill University offers three undergraduate certificates in translation. It also offers a graduate certificate in legal translation for those interested in a challenging and lucrative specialization.

Translation programs offered at McGill University:

Concordia University

Concordia University offers an undergraduate program that leads to a bachelor’s with a French-to-English or English-to-French option. A major in translation is also available under the Bachelor of Arts in French Studies.

At the graduate level, it’s possible to do a Master’s in Translation Studies at Concordia University with or without a thesis, depending on whether you’re more interested in doing research or in developing a professional skill.

Translation programs offered at Concordia University:

“At Concordia, I like that you can pick if you want to go into French-to-English or English-to-French translation, as well as the fact that some classes, such as terminology, are given in French and have both French and English translation students taking the class together, so you can learn from the other side.” – Jennifer Doucette, Language Specialist

Université de Montréal

The Université de Montréal’s Department of Linguistics and Translation offers several programs for those interested in this field, including two undergraduate programs and three graduate-level programs, culminating in a PhD.

The focus at UdeM is on English-to-French translation. The Department of Literature and World Languages also offers two certificates in third-language translation, and the Faculty of Continuing Education offers two translation certificates.

Translation programs offered at the Université de Montréal:

The co-op, mentorship and internship options we get to choose from at UdeM are a plus, as well as all the networking events, which I remember finding stressful as a first-year student, but it’s good to be able to chat with employers from the get go. Compared to students from other programs, I think translation students often have a way more precise idea of what the industry is like before graduating. Also, our co-op coordinator (Dominique Bohbot) is super proactive in making sure all interns get paid. I don’t think she’ll even let you intern somewhere if they don’t pay you.” – Tori Stecum, Project Manager

Other Programs

Several other institutions in the city offer language and linguistics programs. For example, there’s UQAM’s Language School and its Linguistics Department, or at college level there’s the double diploma in History and Civilization – Art and Literature, Languages option at the Cégep du Vieux-Montréal or the Languages and Cultures program at Vanier College.

And that’s not to mention programs in nearby cities, like Université de Sherbrooke’s Certificate in Translation or its Bachelor’s in Professional Translation, which is recognized by OTTIAQ and has supplied OXO with so many excellent translators that we had to open an office in Sherbrooke.

“The Université de Sherbrooke’s focus on revision and quality of written language is especially useful for students who wish to eventually become revisers. My favourite part of this program is, without a doubt, the co-op internship option. In fact, my internships helped me land a job with the wonderful OXO team!” – Lucie Battaglia, Language Specialist

Whether you’re looking to become a professional translator or improve your knowledge in the field, Montreal and the area are chock-full of academic resources that can be a stepping stone for your career.

Who knows, maybe you’ll join our team of experts one day?

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