November 2014 Archives

An Interview With a Translator in Her Own Right, Danièle Marcoux


professor.jpgDanièle Marcoux

Sessional lecturer

Co-ordinator of Undergraduate translation programs, Graduate Diploma in translation and Graduate Certificate in language localization

Academic advisor (translation)

It was already dark outside when I entered Madame Marcoux's office at Concordia. I had come about five minutes earlier than agreed, paused before coming in, and, bracing my energies (it was my first ever interview!), slid into the frame of the door - it was wide open. Madame Marcoux was at her computer, tapping out some instructions to a student. Evidently, she was hurrying up - she knew I was about to come. Slightly startled at my knocking politely on the open door, she told me to come in and close the door behind me. As I was settling back into a chair taking out my elaborate Q & A notes, she let out some words of obvious irritation about her slow computer. Embarrassed, she pointed out that I had come a little bit earlier anyway, so I could excuse her taking time to finish off her interactions with the student. I felt a bit confused - I did not want to make her feel uncomfortable about it - so I just told her to take her time. I knew perfectly well how important the feedback she was giving could be to that student. Taking advantage of the minutes I had to wait, I observed the office. It was not too big, nor small, but, what I liked the most about it was its part where a wooden book cabinet stood. It was literally packed with numerous reference books, dictionaries, thesauri, and other language-related tomes. What stood out to me in the first place was, naturally, the bulky but priceless 'Le Petit Robert'. You could easily tell you were in the realm of a translator. At last, Madame Marcoux turned off the computer, turned to me in her chair and we started. I was later amazed at how full and detailed her answers were. Indeed, her French was beautifully smooth and coherent, she was by far one of the most articulate people I had ever heard talk. In the streets of Montreal, you rarely have the chance to come across a native speaker who does as much justice to the beauty of the French language as this woman does.

Le Canadian



It comes as no surprise that 56% of Montrealers are bilingual, but it is curious as to how much of that percentage are Quebecers who are as fluent in English as they are in French, if not more. Felix Mercier, a third-year Concordia student studying business administration, belongs to the latter category. Born at the same time as his twin brother Hugo in Montreal to full-blooded French-Canadian parents, he moved with his family to Connecticut when he was five, only to return to his hometown for university studies, thirteen years later at the age of 18. Despite not speaking a word of English at the time of his arrival in the United States, he now says he is more comfortable in it than his mother tongue of French. Felix happens to be an ideal specimen for investigation into the mind of someone who is divided not only in language, but also in identity, given most of his upbringing in a country elsewhere than that of his birth. What follows are his personal thoughts and opinions on such musings:

In Her Own Words: Jessica Beaudoin



The city of Montreal is a bastion of bilingual culture. It ranks higher than any other Canadian city in bilingualism, with young adults thriving in multiple languages. Fred Genesee has a wealth of examples to draw from for his research on childhood bilingualism--examples like Montreal-based games journalist Jessica Beaudoin.Jessica's experiences reflect how much of her generation has been exposed to language and bilingual culture. She grew up bilingual; though her parents are monolingual francophones, her schooling was in both English and French, providing a bilingual language base that her parents never had. She represents one of the most common faces of Canadian bilingualism.

Jessica, to my ears, has no accent. This is something I quickly correct myself on; I'm a monolingual English speaker, and sometimes we forget that we're a minority in the world. Still, it reflects a difference in the bilingual and monolingual mindsets. I can't help but define everything by a single language. Jessica, having grown up educated in two, approaches language in a wholly different way. I try to clear myself of monolingual assumptions, having now read extensively on Genesee's research, but there is no substitute for the first-hand experience Jessica has to offer.