MCIS has developed a unique language-independent training program with funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Currently, the only formal translator education programs available in Canada are in French and Spanish. For other languages, training is only available overseas, or not at all for rare languages and dialects. As a result, there is a significant shortage of professionally trained translators in many languages spoken in Canada. This is affecting access to critical information and services for limited/non-English speaking persons in key areas such as health care, emergency services, legal access, education, social services and so on, in a country characterized by its diversity.
MCIS’ Translator Training Program aims to offer equal access to education, in order to help reduce the shortage of trained translators in the multitude of languages spoken in Canada. The program provides linguistically diverse Canadians with the means to develop skills and knowledge to become community translators, with focuses on topics present in Community Translation (legal, medical, social). The advanced portion of the training program seeks to bridge the gap between academic learning in university programs and real-world tools and technology being used in the industry today, and focuses in areas such as multimedia, literary, and creative translation.
If you are curious and are wondering who interpreters and translators are, what they do and how you can join their ranks, we invite you to join us for our free information session. You can join us either in-person or online. During the session, we will answer commonly asked questions such as:
- Who is MCIS and what are its training programs?
- What are the average wages for interpretation and translation assignments?
- What is the difference between interpretation and translation?
- In what type of settings do interpreters and translators typically work?
- What is necessary to enter the industry?
This is your starting point for everything that you need to know about becoming a professional interpreter or translator.
- Cost: Free
- Duration: 1 hour
- Format: In-person or live webinar through Adobe Connect
The online version of the Translator Training Program is composed of 40 modules. While enrolled, students will have ready access to all course content, training materials and resources online.
Students will be placed into groups called cohorts that will start the program on set dates.
The OTTP Online Translator Training Program is comprised of 40 modules (2-3 hours per module). Students will follow a pre-defined schedule and complete the modules on their own computers within 18 weeks of the start date.
Students should expect to spend between 10-20 hours per week working on the course and coursework. Please note that this is an intensive program that will require students to complete work on time.
Cost: See registration form.
Professional Development: Approved for 120 Professional Development Credits (PDUs) with the Ontario Council on Community Interpreting (OCCI)
The training program is composed of 40 modules (3 hours per module), assignments throughout the course, and a Post-Training assessment. There are two sections of in-class sessions: Daytime (10 weeks) and After hours (11 weeks). The curriculum covers an introduction to translation, the industry best practices, as well as comprehension of the source text, research and terminology, translation strategies, and building & managing a translation business. Since the main focus of the program is Community Translation, it has a core section that covers translation of official documents and public outreach documents. Seeing as the area of Community Translation often overlaps specialized translation fields, the curriculum also includes an introduction to legal translation, medical translation, technology and translation, and audiovisual translation. Since the focus of the program is on Community Translation, it does not lead to professional certification by professional associations such as ATIO.
Please note that this is an intensive program that will require students to complete work on time.
Location: Training Room (Basement level) – 789 Don Mills Road, North York, ON M3C 1T5
Cost: See registration form.
Professional Development: Approved for 120 Professional Development Credits (PDUs) with the Ontario Council on Community Interpreting (OCCI)
- An excellent command of the English language (both writing and reading skills)*
- Good writing skills in working languages
- Computer literacy (ability to type in English and the other working language(s))**
- A working laptop with MS Word and Adobe Acrobat Reader to bring and use in the class (Chromebooks or tablets may not be used)
- Research skills (needed for modules on terminology, reference material and stylistic guides)
- Cultural competence (both cultures of translation)
- Post-secondary (university or college) degree/certificate
*This is mandatory as the course will be delivered in English.
** Students must already possess basic computer knowledge. This course is not intended to teach basic skills. If students do not possess this – MCIS may refer the student to skills development courses.
Proficiency in at least two languages is essential, but simply being bilingual does not make you a translator. Here are some key qualities and competencies of good translators:
Professionalism: Responsive and Prompt
A good translator will provide a quote at the beginning of an assignment and will agree on a deadline with the project coordinator. It is the responsibility of the translator to only accept translations that are within their area of expertise.
A good translator does not miss their deadline! They are responsible for managing their time efficiently and allowing extra time for unexpected difficulties.
However, when unexpected situations occur and a good translator realizes that they will not be able to complete an assignment they let the project coordinator know IMMEDIATELY. Good translators also ensure that they back up their work, as computer crashes are not an acceptable reason for missing your deadline.
Translators are freelance workers who generally work alone without supervision. This means that the translator should be self-motivated to complete their work on time, and should also possess time management skills to ensure their work load is manageable.
Translators are encouraged to touch base with the Project Coordinator for questions and clarification but being able to work independently is a key attribute for translators.
Technical & Cultural Competence
A translator should be familiar with the cultural nuances of the languages he/she is translating into/from. Translators act as cultural mediators and need to ensure the target text is appropriate for the end-users.
A translator should be proficient in typing into their target language using the appropriate keyboard and font. Many translators work with a computer-aided translation tool, or CAT tool in order to increase the quality of their work and to be more productive. Even when not using a CAT tool, being familiar with technology is crucial for translators; all translators have to know how computers and different software programs work and be able to learn to use new tools easily.
Translators must have the readiness and ability to research. Often times a client will provide reference material and preferred terminology, but additional research is regularly required in order to produce a high quality translation.
Attention to Detail
Good translators should ensure that they follow the instructions set out by the client and/or project coordinator. They also use the reference materials and preferred terminology indicated to complete the assignment. Good translators must also double check their work and aim for 100% accuracy, by staying as close as possible to the source text and confirming name spellings and dates with the Project Coordinator.
Once participants have completed the training, they may consider obtaining certification, become members to professional organizations, or may wish to pursue higher education. Below is a list of some organizations that participants could join, and some information on available programs in Ontario.
Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council (CTTIC)
CTTIC is the national body representing professional translators, interpreters and terminologists. The organization has seven provincial member associations (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia). Translators can apply to be members of the provincial associations. Members can apply for certification through the provincial associations. See more information about CTTIC here.
Ordre des traducteurs, terminologues et interprètes agrées du Québec (OTTIAQ)
The Order is the provincial body that represents professional translators, terminologists and interpreters in Quebec. See more information about OTTIAQ here.
American Translators Association (ATA)
The ATA is the body representing and providing professional development to translators and interpreters in the United States. Persons from other countries are also eligible for membership and certification. ATA offers a certification exam for translators. See more about ATA’s membership and certification here.
Glendon College, York University – Master in Translation Studies
York University’s Glendon College offers a 2 years Master’s program in Translation Studies. The program does not provide professional training, but rather focuses on providing an opportunity for students and professional translators to reflect on their practice and become familiar with the growing academic field of translation studies.
University of Ottawa – Master in Translation Studies
The University of Ottawa offers a Master’s program in Translation studies. The program is intended to develop research capabilities in various fields of translation, as well as to provide advanced training in terminology, computerized translation and translation teaching.
University of Ottawa – Doctoral Program in Translation Studies
The University of Ottawa also offers a Doctoral program in Translation studies, whose purpose is to produce qualified scholars in the field for academic teaching and research. The program focuses on: theories, history and pedagogy of translation, as well as lexicology, terminology and technologies applied to translation.
University of Strasbourg - Master in Technical Communication and Localization (TCLoc)
The Master’s program is a distance-learning, career-oriented, part-time, year-long online program, taught entirely in English, specially designed for professionals wishing to further their education. Graduates obtain a master’s degree from the University of Strasbourg and a professional Technical Communicator tekom certification.
Over a period of 12 months, TCLoc students participate in a series of online seminars divided into 9 Teaching Units (TUs). A number of optional real-time video conferences with instructors will allow students to share any questions or concerns they may have about their courses.
“Excellently prepared class notes and power point slides, in addition, I find each and every facilitator knowledgeable with varying degrees of humor. The delivery was equally impressive to allow students remain focused and attentive. This is quite an accomplishment.”
“Thank you to all instructors. You did a great job. I appreciate your time, effort and patience. Without doubt, I learnt a lot of things in this course and all the tools you have provided me will be very useful in my career as translator.”
“I will pursue Certification in the future once I had more practice in this field. I really like this course a lot and would encourage my family, friends and colleagues to take it too.”
“Special thanks to all [the] facilitators. They are very knowledgeable and professional. Excellent program!”
“Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity. True to [the] MCIS [vision]. The whole team was professional, competent and diligent. It was probably [a challenge] to design the course, so kudos to all of you!”
“Thank you very much for your great effort to put together a very high quality program!”
“MCIS has done it again and provided an excellent and wonderful learning experience. Thanks to all our wonderful facilitators and friendly group.”
“Thank you very much for the hard work and dedication to this project. I greatly enjoyed this training. It has a good combination of theoretical teaching and hands-on practice. I would recommend this training to any person wishing to become a professional translator!”
“Thanks to MCIS and the wonderful facilitators in general who guided us unreservedly.”
“This training presented an amazing opportunity to launch my career in translation! Thank you, MCIS!”
What are the training dates, times, and costs?
For training dates and times, please check the registration form.
What is the duration of the training program?
There are approximately 120 instructional hours, as well as 40-60 hours of recommended self-study time for OsTTP students, or 60-80 recommended self-study hours for OTTP students.
Classroom instruction will be 10-11 weeks, and expect to spend approximately 14 weeks in the Online version of the translator training program
What is required to complete the training?
For classroom training, the student must attend all classes and complete all required online quizzes, homework, and activities. Students must receive an overall passing grade of 70%.
Will I work with your company after completing training?
You will not be included automatically in the MCIS company roster as a translator upon completion of training and testing. All students that wish to work with MCIS, shall apply online at: http://www.mcislanguages.com/careers/freelancer/
Will I be able to work elsewhere with your training?
Many organizations require translators to have experience in the translation field combined with a certificate in the field. This program will confirm that you have completed a translation program.
Do you train me in my language(s)?
The training will be carried out in English. However, you will have plenty of exercises where you will practice translating into your language.
I’m already bilingual. Why do I need training as a translator?
Speaking two languages does not make a person a translator. Translation is a highly skilled profession, that requires a complex set of skills and competencies, and following industry best practices. Students that undergo our training will be instructed in a Translation Code of Ethics, as well as the Canadian Standards for Translation Services (CAN/GSB-131.10-2008) and the International Standards for Translation Services (ISO 17100:2015). Students will develop skills to accurately and faithfully transfer meaning from a document in one language to a document in a second language. They will also learn about the use of technology that increases productivity and the quality of a translator’s work, and many more.
Is this certificate recognized by Ontario Government departments?
If you are looking to work with agencies or organizations for translation, they look for experience in the translation field and/or a certificate or degree in translation. You will receive a certificate of completion that will prove you have completed the program. At this time we cannot guarantee that other organizations will recognize this training or, if recognized, to what extent.
What are the languages in high demand that you are looking for?
The great thing about working in Ontario is that it is so multicultural and the trends in language needs can shift quickly. Therefore, we are looking for several language combinations including, but not limited to: French, Punjabi, Tamil, Hindi, Arabic, Farsi, Dari, Pashto, Turkish, Amharic, Tigrigna, Lao, Thai, Burmese, Vietnamese, Korean, Somali, Chinese and many more!
I have already taken many courses in interpretation and I am accredited (e.g. MAG, IRB, ILSAT, CILISAT), how will this program benefit me?
The program is for participants who have the language skills to become translators (written documents). It is very different than having IRB or MAG accreditation since those are specifically for oral interpretation. If you feel that you want to become a translator and work on translating documents, this is the program for you!
What kind of level will this training attain?
Our training is different from others available at universities. It is one of a kind that focuses on Community Translation. Students will receive certificates of completion upon successful completion of the program. This program does not lead to professional certification.
Does this training make me a certified translator?
To be clear, this training does not lead to professional certification like ATIO.
ATIO is the professional association that aims to standardize the quality of translation work – they advocate for the use of professional linguists, through their certification exam an professional standards.
It can become difficult for translators working in non-official languages to get certification, as they may encounter barrier of not having enough translation experience because they have no formal training, not consistent enough experience (which can lead to the vicious cycle of not getting any work because not enough experience and not getting enough experience because they cannot get enough work), and sometimes tests/markers are not available in some languages.
What our program aims to do is provide language professionals who are already in the field, training in translation theory and best practices so that they can be successful in professional examinations. And those who are just entering the field, this is their starting point to build up their experience and portfolio.
What do you mean by language independent or language neutral?
All of the translation training programs available in Ontario and in Canada are language specific. This means that if you do not have a certain language combination, like French-English or Spanish-English, for example, you will not be able to be in a program to learn practical translation skills since the exercises, activities and evaluations are all conducted in those specific language combinations. This means that many people who would like to become translators in Ontario have no opportunity for training, if they do not work in the top few languages. Following in the steps of our Interpreter Training program, we are creating a program that will give students solid skills to apply translation strategies and industry best practices and solve common translation issues to their particular language combinations. This gives an opportunity to speakers of all languages to become competent professional translators. With a large roster of experienced translators, we have the capability of evaluating the languages of our students.
Who will be facilitating the courses?
Classes will be facilitated by professional translators with certification, professionals who hold Master’s or Doctoral degrees in Translation and who have experience in the translation field.