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Translating written English to Chinese is focus of new minor at UTSC

Chinese is now the third most commonly used language in Canada

These four Chinese characters translate to English as "English-Chinese translation" (image courtesy UTSC)

Starting in September, a new minor at  the University of Toronto Scarborough's Centre for French and Linguistics will teach students how to translate written English to Chinese.

“The need for professional English and Chinese translation is growing rapidly,” says Helen Wu, senior lecturer in Linguistics at UTSC. “The ability to translate between English and Chinese has become a valuable asset in our global economy.”

Chinese is now the third most commonly used language in Canada, and the demand for translation services is growing in fields such as community service, journalism, tourism, immigration, medical services and legal services. There’s also a need for these skills in government and multinational corporations.

And the program will also deepen the connections between UTSC and its wider community.

“This is a campus that cares about its languages,” says Rena Helms-Park, associate professor in the Centre for French and Linguistics. “The languages we teach reflect the communities around us.”

The minor program will open up 30 spots in its first year. While the focus is currently on translation of English text into Chinese, there are plans to develop programs for Chinese to English translation as well.

Students who complete the program will enter the job market with skills that give them an advantage when those translation skills are required, says Wu, but there are other benefits.

“This program prepares top students who want to go into graduate study in this field because it equips them with both theoretical and practical skills,” she says.

The minor will also give students the skills to get the experience they need to become accredited in translation, both in Canada and China.

For information on the English-to-Chinese Translation program at UTSC, contact Wu at helenxy.wu@utoronto.ca or the centre’s undergraduate assistant at cfl-ua@utsc.utoronto.ca.

Chris Garbutt is a writer with UTSC