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Updated: Thu, 07/18/2024 - 18:12

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Update: McGill Lecturer Wins Translation Prize

Published: 19 November 2015

Debbie Blythe, a translator and lecturer at the McGill School of Continuing Studies' Translation and Written Communication unit, has been awarded the Cole Foundation Prize for Translation - French to English. Blythe received the award in recognition for her work on Turkey and the Armenian Ghost: On the Trail of the Genocide. The prize was awarded as part of the Quebec Writers' Federation QWF Literary Awards, the most important literary event of the year for Quebec English-language writers and readers. 

"I was thrilled to win this award," says Blythe. "It was the culmination of a dream come true - to translate a worthwhile book. I hope it leads to other opportunities to translate significant works of fiction and non-fiction.” 

The work earned praise from the jury, comprised of Lucien Chaput, Karin Montin, and Susan Ouriou. “With this examination of the effects of Turkey’s denial of the Armenian genocide, the translator has demonstrated her mastery of the art and science of translation. The expository prose is limpid and compelling. It reads smoothly, with no awkwardness. Calling on a more factual style and on her own research skills when outlining the history of the Armenian question, she is also adept at switching to a more personal style for the interview portions of the book, showing a sensibility and ear for dialogue that allow readers to feel they are indeed hearing the voices of the Armenian present and past.”

 "It was my privilege to translate this timely work," says Blythe. In her speech, she thanked McGill-Queen's University Press, the Cole Foundation, the book's funders, and her editor. She also referred to recent events, noting the need to "right historic wrongs and work toward peace and reconciliation."

"My dual careers as McGill lecturer and translator are symbiotic. Teaching makes me a better translator, and translating makes me a better teacher."

The QWF Literary Awards were presented on November 18, 2015.

Click here to read a past profile on Debbie Blythe.

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