Marc-André Robitaille

Director, Translation

Translators, Those Magical Creatures to Be Tamed

Hints of context and minutes passed,

Cold sweat and deadlines approaching fast,

A few loan translations and the stench of perissology,

Barrels of research rolling down heavily.


To the faint of heart, beware!

A grim fate and curses await those who call themselves language professionals!


Translation is a work of alchemy, hidden under a shroud of mystery. The language professional, speaking strange words such as zeugma, anacoluthia and oxymorons, and scribbling symbols that only typographers readily recognize, still uses old books of spells, still in effect, along with new magical tools.

Nevertheless, he is recognized as a social wizard. After all these years of preparing syntactical potions, stylistic brews and terminological incantations, from university crypts to co-op iron maidens, he leaves his group of apprentices and goes out into the world, scouring cities and the countryside.

But does he vanish away using this bachelor’s degree that was so hard to get? Holy Cauldron, no! His curse will enslave him in a never-ending quest for self-improvement.

You will certainly cross paths with one, in daylight, walking around as would a simple urbanite. Perhaps you will notice his penetrating gaze, like that of a raven, scrutinizing every written work he encounters… Should he find a fault with it, he will glare at it and sometimes even correct it with a few strokes of red ink. Is there not such a thing as typographical bleeding?

Because, you see, you WANT the translator to be your friend. You will be their Arthur, their Guinevere, as they will be your Merlin, your Morgan.

Beware, mortals, that the thunderbolts of certification will transform your amateur translations into a toad which no one will recognize as... official.

As one Orthos said to the other: “Two heads are better than one.”

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