Baie Chapman, QC (Photo by NCC

Baie Chapman, QC (Photo by NCC

Alfred-Kelly Nature Reserve, QC (Photo by NCC)

Alfred-Kelly Nature Reserve, QC (Photo by NCC)

A creative contribution to a cause: the gift of words of Patrick

Volunteer translator

NCC recently met up with our much-appreciated volunteer translator, Patrick. We were so struck by his enthusiasm and generosity that we wanted to share this short interview with you.


Hello mister Patrick. It’s a pleasure to meet you!

Please, no formal titles (he says, shaking his head). It’s a pleasure for me as well!

Ok, sounds good! We really appreciate your generous work, and wanted to recognize your contributions by publishing a story on our website. The goal is also to inspire other individuals to support our cause, even if they’re not able to contribute money.

I don’t need this kind of recognition, but if it helps inspire others to support NCC, I’d be happy to help!

Fantastic. Can you please tell me about your career as a translator?

Pointe-Saint-Pierre, QC (Photo by Roger-St-Laurent)

Pointe-Saint-Pierre, QC (Photo by Roger-St-Laurent)

I was born in the U.S., but I moved to Montreal at the age of four, and have lived here most of my life. I’m not a translator by training. However, I did need to translate a number of texts when I worked in government. I finally decided to retire early and take on freelance translation work from home. In 2013, NCC reached out to me to translate a few things. Because I’d had lots of experience in my previous role, I ended up learning NCC’s jargon, and terms more specific to nature. I finally told NCC a couple of years ago that I no longer needed to be compensated for these translations.

That’s really generous. It must take up a lot of your time.

It’s my contribution to the conservation of natural areas, and I’m happy to do so! And it allows me to keep up to date on the projects – it’s like reading the news! It’s inspiring to see all these efforts to protect the natural environment.

Has nature always had a special place in your life?

Yes, but please don’t hesitate to address me less formally! When I was young, we used to visit my grandparents in the U.S. Their land adjoined a parc, so I grew up with frogs, flowers, insects…These days, I share this passion with my two daughters.

Are you involved in other charitable causes?

I also do volunteer translation work for another non-profit that helps parents with homeschooling. We homeschool our two daughters and it’s not straightforward for everyone. Coming from an anglophone background, I understand how difficult it is to integrate yourself into Quebec culture when you don’t speak French. It’s my way to help other unilinguals better understand Quebec. This also allows me to support causes that are meaningful to me while helping to give them more profile. It’s rare to find translators who can give of their time in this way; even more rare to find ones that do the work quickly. (Chuckles)

Kenauk, QC (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Kenauk, QC (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Your love of nature and your desire to get involved are evident. But why NCC? What made you decided to offer your time to our mission?

There are two reasons: first, when translating copy for NCC, I came to understand that the lands that were being conserved in the texts I was translating were close to me. I mean: there are names of well-known people that I read and recognize, and places near me in Gatineau. I like feeling that I have a direct impact. Not necessarily direct, because I’m translating copy. But you know what I mean: a direct impact on something that affects us all.

Understood! And the second reason why you’re volunteering for NCC is special?

The team is positive! NCC isn’t in the blame game or on the defensive. It’s always a positive message. There’s an enthusiasm for nature, high quality communications, a great team. I really feel that we work for nature, and not people. And the results are also positive : everything I publish has been translated! And in this line of work, that’s very rare. I feel that there’s a progression: one news release leads to another. There’s progress, and most of all it always remains…I’ve already said it, but it’s positive! It’s…yep, it’s just always positive. When volunteering is so enjoyable, it’s easy to get involved!

Green Mountains Nature Reserve (Photo by Don and Karol Dabbs

Green Mountains Nature Reserve (Photo by Don and Karol Dabbs

Wow, thanks for your time, Patrick. It’s really inspiring!

If my work can help you, I’m happy!

Of course! Thank you so much for your time. I won’t disturb you much longer!

No problem at all. My pleasure! Send me the story, I’ll translate it! (he chuckles)

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