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PhD candidate heads to Sochi to translate at the Paralympics

Janick Roy, a PhD candidate in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.

Janick Roy, a PhD candidate in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.

For some, the way to get to the Sochi Paralympics is by excelling in alpine skiing or wheelchair curling. But for Janick Roy, a PhD candidate in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, it’s her excellent language skills that will enable her to be a part of the exciting event. Roy, a Quebec native, will be translating between French and Russian as well as English and French, helping athletes speak to journalists as well as medical services staff.

“The main goal is to make sure that athletes and officials can get all the information in French,” says Roy. “I also need to ensure that communication is possible and accurate between the athletes, journalists and staff.”

Roy has been studying a lot about the sports, as well as putting together a glossary of vocabulary and important information in all three languages.

“I am excited to go to Sochi, meet the athletes and other volunteers,” she says. Roy is thankful for the opportunity to be a part of a project — she is one of 22 translators coming from four Francophone areas: France, Switzerland, Belgium and Quebec — and says that it’s essential to have international experiences as part of any education.

“The knowledge of other languages and other cultures is an important part of understanding the world in which we live, as well as our own culture with its beliefs and prejudices. It gives one the possibility to have a perspective on his or her own life and culture.”

In order to enter the Slavic programs at the University of Toronto, students must know at least one Slavic language. Roy was set: when she did her bachelor’s degree in international studies and modern languages, she studied in Moscow for about a year and a half. Since then, she has been studying Russian literature and teaching the language to undergraduate students.

“The literary courses I took and the researchers I worked with helped me get a better understanding of Russia’s history and culture,” she says.

Now Roy is considering a future career as a translator.

“This project is an incredible chance to get experience in interpretation,” she says. “It will allow me to improve my Russian and learn different tools to be a translator.”

The position is part of an internship offered by Les Offices Jeunesse Internationaux du Quebec, the Quebec Ministry of International Relations and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.