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Dominique Bohbot: Standing Together for a Strong Language Industry

With years of translation and management experience under her belt, Dominique Bohbot, Certified Translator and Certified Writer, is now, as Head of Professional Training, Department of Linguistics and Translation at the Université de Montréal, coaching students to help them integrate into the translation market. She’s a passionate advocate for professional translation and works tirelessly to promote Canadian language services with a view to improving translators’ working conditions and their recognition within the country’s economy.

An interview by Maria Ortiz Takacs, traductrice agréée/Certified Translator

How did you get involved in translation?
My passion for professional translation took root in France, where I obtained a Master’s Degree in Economic Sciences and Applied Foreign Languages. Later, I interned in the banking sector in the United Kingdom and Spain. After moving to Canada, I acquired valuable translation experience while supporting worthy causes as a volunteer for Doctors Without Borders and CARE Canada.

Can you describe your translation career?
My career started at TMX Group, a publicly traded company in the financial sector, where I was given increasing responsibilities that led to my appointment as Manager, Linguistic Services. Steering a corporate linguistics department helped broaden my skills in several areas: translation, management, resource planning, hybrid outsourcing, translation software implementation, etc. I am very proud of my ongoing participation in the language community. I’m especially interested in the Association of Linguistic Services Managers (ACGL), serving six years as President and now as a distinguished member.

My current position as Head of Professional Training in the Department of Linguistics and Translation at the Université de Montréal allows me to pass on my professional experience to students. Another activity I enjoy is giving talks about the translation market. The most recent one, “Outside your Comfort Zone: Professional Promotion Strategies,” was given during OTTIAQ’s Annual Conference last November.

You are also Chair of the Committee for the Promotion of Canadian Language Services. What projects are you working on in that capacity?
The Committee, through the Association of Linguistic Services Managers, has given itself the mandate to promote a strong language industry in Canada. With the support of major pan-Canadian associations and public figures, we recently held meetings with officials at the highest levels of the Government of Canada to discuss issues facing the Canadian language sector. Our main objectives are to protect our industry with tangible actions and to foster the expansion of the Translation Bureau and its operational model as the cornerstone of our industry. Our strategy aims at undertaking concerted efforts to promote our professionalism and enhance the visibility of the translation field as a driver for greater economic expansion.

How do you see the Canadian translation industry’s future in the ever-changing environment of the profession?
The future is promising. However, tackling the major issues facing our industry requires unity and solidarity among all players, associations and stakeholders. We need to stand together, step up lobbying efforts at all levels and design a national strategy. Individual translators must brush up their core skills for personal growth and business development, with a view to improving their competitiveness. Another important aspect is that we shouldn’t be scared of technology. On the contrary, we must dare to dive into new trends and create strategic alliances. One of the weak aspects is that many translators prefer to work alone, and even though there’s been progress in this respect, there’s still a lot of work to be done if we want to stay connected and take advantage of all the benefits that new technologies have to offer.

What advice would you give to new translation graduates?
At the Université de Montréal, I encourage our students to take advantage of any opportunities: internships, job shadowing, networking, career coaching, etc. I tell them not to limit themselves to looking for jobs or clients, but to practise their professional pitch for a lasting impression. New graduates, as well as anyone undergoing a career transition, should monitor industry trends and understand not only our fast-paced, changing market, but also clients’ needs. In this era of big data, information and networking are crucial for connecting new grads with seasoned professionals, for anticipating emerging issues from a broader business perspective, and for adapting their personal strategies accordingly.


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