From March 10 to 12, Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, will host the best and brightest Canadian translation students for the 2017 Jeux de la traduction.

Hundreds of undergraduates from 12 teams representing universities across the country will put their language-swapping prowess to the test. The gruelling weekend will challenge their speed, rigor and imagination.

Participants will deal with materials that only human translators can adequately interpret. For example, teams will have to translate excerpts from songs and audiovisual material that uses “plays on words” and colloquial expressions. They will also be asked to translate materials that have constraints — such as 140-character tweets.

All events will be timed and judged on additional criteria such as creativity, spelling and grammar.

“Quick turnaround of material is a constant reality in the world of translation, so speed is important,” explains Christine York, lecturer in translation with the Département d’études françaises.

“But a translator has the responsibility to the authors and characters they are interpreting to do justice to their work, so this is also heavily weighed.”

Translations are judged anonymously by a committee made up of professors from each university represented at the games. The 12 competing schools are hosts to Canada’s only undergraduate-level translation programs.

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