A tribute to...

Pierre DAVIAULT (1899-1964)

A Pioneer of translator training in Canada


Pierre Daviault was a translator, writer, senior civil servant, professor, founder and director of literary journals, president of learned societies, director of translators' societies, and scholar of lexicology. Translators in Canada owe him a debt of gratitude for proposing and inaugurating, in 1936, the country's first professional translation courses. After devoting 30 years to translation and revision, he went on to become Assistant Superintendant (1953) and then Superintendant (1955) of the Translation Bureau. He was also responsible for the establishment of a number of innovative services, including the training school for interns recruited into the federal public service, the simultaneous interpretation service in the House of Commons and the Senate, and the terminology service. Daviault also authored a number of works, including L'Expression juste en traduction and Questions de langage et Traduction (reworked in 1961 into his important book Langage et traduction). He was also co-editor of a bilingual Dictionnaire militaire and, with professors Jean-Paul Vinay and Henry Alexander, of the Dictionnaire canadien (1961). He was honored with numerous distinctions, including the médaille de l'Académie française and the Chauveau Medal. He was appointed president of the Royal Society of Canada in 1958 and president of the Société des écrivains canadiens in 1959. He often referred to himself familiarly as the "watchdog of French in Canada." Pierre Daviault greatly helped to enhance the status of Canadian translators and to increase their visibility.

Joseph-Marie Quirion (1918-2002)

Founder of the School of Translation and Interpretation

Joseph-Marie Quirion

Father Quirion was a great contributor to the University of Ottawa. From 1961 to 1983, he was dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, dean of the Faculty of Arts, as well as director of the Institute of International Development and Cooperation.

"During the 1960s and 1970s, Father Quirion was one of the most influential people at the University," recalls M. Marcel Hamelin, former rector of the University and personal friend of Father Quirion. "He was first dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences (1961-1965) during a period of major reorganization. He then became dean of the Faculty of Arts (1965-1974), at a time when this Faculty, with fifteen departments, was the largest on campus. Father Quirion was a true builder. He set up several departments, including the Department of Music and the School of Translation and Interpretation. He also aided in the development of teaching second and modern languages."

After his undergraduate studies at l'Université Laval, Father Quirion obtained a degree in philosophy and a bachelor's degree in theology at the University of Ottawa. He then obtained a Bachelor's degree in business from the University of South Africa and a Master's degree in economics from the London School of Economics. The Joseph-Marie Quirion scholarship was established in 1989 to honour his contribution to the University of Ottawa. This scholarship, worth from $1000 to $1500, recognizes academic excellence of students registered in a specialized program in the Faculty of Arts.

Émile BOUCHER (1908-1973)

First director of the School of Translation and Interpretation


A native of New Brunswick, Émile Boucher first obtained his BA at the University of Bathurst (1930). Continuing his studies at the Université de Montréal, he obtained a Licence in social sciences, economics and politics in 1936 and a Licence in philosophy in 1938. In the latter year, he also became a parliamentary translator. In this new profession, he worked in Commons and Senate Debates for 10 years, and in Laws for six. In 1954, he was appointed to the position of Head of the translation service for the Ministry of Trade and Commerce and, 10 years later, moved to the Economic Council of Canada. In 1971, he was appointed director of the new School of Translation and Interpretation at the University of Ottawa, whose foundations he laid extremely competently. Stricken with a terminal illness, he was forced to resign from his job prematurely, several months before his death on March 12, 1973. Émile Boucher devoted 35 years of his life to his translation career. In every position he occupied, he stood out for his high level of professional ability and his gift for administration.

Directors of the School

The following is a list of directors of the School of Translation and Interpretation since it was founded in 1971.

  • Émile BOUCHER — 1971-1972
  • Pierre CARDINAL —  January to June 1973
  • Fred GLAUS —  1973-1975
  • Brian HARRIS —  1975-1979
  • Roda P. ROBERTS —  1979-1985
  • Jacqueline BOSSÉ-ANDRIEU —  1985-1986
  • Roda P. ROBERTS — 1986-1989
  • Annie BRISSET —  1989-1992
  • Brian HARRIS —  1992-1994
  • Geneviève MARESCHAL —  1994-2000
  • Jean DELISLE —  2000-2006
  • Luise VON FLOTOW —  2006-2016
  • Jean QUIRION — 2016-2018
  • Ryan FRASER & Elizabeth MARSHMAN (Co-Chairs) — since 2018
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