Leading the Way: 2017 McGill Associates Prize in Translation

Published: 4 December 2017

 Hélène Roulston and Cheryl Smeall at the 2017 McGill Associates Prize in Translation reception. Hélène Roulston and Cheryl Smeall at the 2017 McGill Associates Prize in Translation reception.Translation is elemental to the economic and social fabric of Canadian society. McGill’s School of Continuing Studies is proud to play a meaningful role in Canada’s language industry by offering quality translation programs and student support. Professor Maria Córdoba, a new member of the team, will be coordinating the School’s translation programs, adding to the continued strength of the programs – innovation.

Every year, the School honours the work of outstanding translation students with the McGill Associates Prize in Translation. This year’s talented winners, Jean Massicotte, Hélène Roulston and Cheryl Smeall, all of whom were on the Dean’s list, represent the dynamism, diversity and interdisciplinary spirit of the School’s translation community.

A self-starter, one of the prize recipients Hélène Roulston has twenty-five years experience as a freelance bilingual editor and proofreader. She brings experience in in both the public and private sector, including several ministries and the Library and Archives of Canada. Roulston was presented her award at the spring graduation ceremony, where she received a Certificate in Translation in the English to French option.

Passionate about language, Roulston has already nearly finished the Certificate in Translation, French to English option. “I work in English and French, so [certificates] are adding to my repertoire of skills and make my credentials more official,” says Roulston. “What I found most interesting was learning about how languages work differently.”

A benefit of the Certificate program is the opportunity to put theory into practice. “Practice is really the only way to get better,” says Roulston. “Doing [translation] on a volunteer basis or for non-profits is one way in, but the certificate program is also thorough and offers practicum courses.”

Another contribution to success was exposure to a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives during the program. “I think the age range [of students] was from 23 to 60, so there are a lot of interesting people in the classes,” explains Roulston. “There is also a huge variety in the professors and it’s good to get different – and even contradictory – perspectives.”

All three winners have unique backgrounds to bring to the field. Cheryl Smeall has an impressive background in history, having earned her Bachelors, Masters and PhD here at McGill. She became interested in translation during the course of her studies.

Smeall has a mastery of French and English, along with a working knowledge of other languages. “I had done a lot of translation for my PhD thesis when using research in other languages,” says Smeall. “During the translation program, I enjoyed the many different fields we were exposed to.”

Many translation students bring the benefits extensive experience in other fields to their work. Jean Massicotte, another of the translation prize recipients, trained in mathematics and is renowned for his work in sound production, recording and music arrangement. A recipient of several Juno awards and the Victoire de la musique in 2008 from France, Massicotte has excelled in his field and applies the precision of mathematics and sound recording to translation.

The future is bright for these three talented students who bring their experiences, exemplary in both diversity and breadth, to the field of translation.


Pictured: Hélène Roulston and Cheryl Smeall at the 2017 McGill Associates Prize in Translation reception.

Back to top