In the words of... Ann Rutledge

Ann RutledgeDiscussion about AILIA’s main challenges with its president Ann Rutledge

Ms. Rutledge, what is happening with the National Standard for Translation Services that came into effect in 2008?

It’s one of AILIA’s greatest challenges. Certification takes time. Only 18 firms out of close to 200 across the country have obtained this certification, which codifies essential process-related criteria. It is one of the most advanced certifications of its kind in the world, but firms and self-employed translators have yet to see the interest in certification following an audit conducted by an independent organization.


The solution?

It’s up to us to better promote the advantages of this certification among buyers of translation services. As long as the main bodies that assign translation work do not require this standard, which guarantees quality work, translators won’t see the advantage of certification.


Let’s talk about translators. The industry is facing a serious labour shortage. What’s the current situation?

The market should be absorbing 1,000 translators and interpreters a year, and this number will only increase as baby boomers retire. Take the example of the main translation employer in the country, the Translation Bureau, which has over 1,200 translators, interpreters and terminologists. The average age of employees is over 53, yet Canadian universities combined turn out barely over 300 translation graduates a year.


To what do you attribute this shortfall?

It is attributable to the decline in enrolment in college and university language programs, something seen across the country. AILIA has to encourage young people to pursue careers in translation to ensure the future of the industry.AILIA also has to more effectively promote job openings and employment opportunities in the industry. According to the online magazine Jobboom, a translation degree is one of the best you can have: the unemployment rate is under 2%.


Does AILIA plan to do anything to reverse the trend?

AILIA will take part in a variety of employment-related events aimed at young people. The Association took part in the Montreal Job and Training Fair held in September. But we have only three permanent employees, so we need reinforcements. We are counting on the support of our members to help us promote the industry in high schools, colleges and universities across the country.


Back to In the words of...