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names of Canadian universities (Linguistic recommendation from the Translation Bureau)

[The same content is available in French in the article NOMS DES UNIVERSITIES CANADIENNES (RECOMMANDATION LINGUISTIQUE DU BUREAU DE LA TRADUCTION).]

To standardize the way names of Canadian universities are written in English and French, the Translation Bureau makes the following recommendation.

Translating the Names of Universities into English

General Recommendation

The names of most French-Canadian universities have no official equivalent in English. The Translation Bureau recommends translating them in part or in full.

There are, however, a number of situations in which it is preferable to retain the official French name: for example, in a legal text (such as a contract) or in a list containing the names of several universities. Unofficial translations must be used with care. In case of doubt, it is better to use the official title (the name of the legal entity) that appears in the act establishing the institution or in the university’s charter. The name by which the institution is commonly known in English (the one found on its website) is not necessarily an official name.

Our suggested translations can be found in TERMIUM Plus®, the Government of Canada’s terminology and linguistic data bank. In translating these names, we followed the guidelines set out below.

Types of institutions

We recommend using the following translations for the names of different types of institutions:

  • Université = University
  • Collège universitaire = University College
  • École = School
  • Institut = Institute

Examples

  • Université Laval = Laval University
  • École Polytechnique de Montréal = Montréal Polytechnic School
  • Institut national de la recherche scientifique = National Institute for Scientific Research

Name of city or province

If the name contains the name of the city or province in which the institution is located, use the formula University of + the name of the city or province:

  • Université de Montréal = University of Montréal (city)
  • Université du Québec = University of Quebec (province)

Other prepositions

The formula Université du…à… should be translated by University of…at…:

  • Université du Québec à Chicoutimi = University of Quebec at Chicoutimi

The formula Université du…en… should be translated by University of…in…:

  • Université du Québec en Outaouais = University of Quebec in Outaouais

Name of person

If the name contains the name of a person, use the formula name of person + University:

  • Université Laval = Laval University

Note: Laval University in Quebec City is named after Monseigneur François de Laval and not after the city of Laval, a northern suburb of Montréal.

Name of saint

When the name contains the name of a saint, retain the French spelling and hyphenation for the saint’s name:

  • Université Sainte-Anne = Sainte-Anne University (rather than St. Anne, Saint Anne or Saint Anne’s)
  • Campus Saint-Jean = Saint-Jean Campus

However, when an official English name exists, the official English spelling of the name should be respected:

  • Université Saint-Paul = Saint Paul University

Full translation

For other cases, we recommend a full translation:

  • École de technologie supérieure = School of Advanced Technology
  • École nationale d’administration publique = National School of Public Administration
  • Institut national de la recherche scientifique = National Institute for Scientific Research
  • École Polytechnique de Montréal = Montréal Polytechnic School

Translating the Names of Universities into French

General Recommendation

The names of most English-Canadian universities have no official equivalent in French. The Translation Bureau recommends translating them—either in part or in full—with a capital on the word Université (Collège, Institut).

There are, however, a number of situations in which it is preferable to retain the official English name: for example, in a legal text (such as a contract). For more information, see the General Recommendation above, under the heading "Translating the Names of Universities into English."

Our suggested translations can be found in TERMIUM Plus®, the Government of Canada’s terminology and linguistic data bank. In translating these names, we followed the guidelines set out below.

Types of institutions

We recommend translating and capitalizing the words for the different types of institutions:

  • University = Université
  • College = Collège
  • Institute = Institut
  • University College = Collège universitaire

Examples

  • Canadian Mennonite University = Université mennonite canadienne
  • Campion College = Collège Campion
  • British Columbia Institute of Technology = Institut de technologie de la Colombie-Britannique
  • Dominican University College = Collège universitaire dominicain

Article The

When the article The appears at the beginning of an institution’s name as part of the official name, the corresponding article is not part of the name in French:

  • The University of British Columbia = Université de la Colombie-Britannique
  • The University of Winnipeg = Université de Winnipeg

Name of city or province

If the name contains the name of the city or province in which the institution is located, use the formula Université de (or d’, du, de la, de l’, as required) + the name of the city or province:

  • Athabasca University = Université d’Athabasca (city)
  • University of Victoria = Université de Victoria (city)
  • University of Guelph = Université de Guelph (city)
  • University of Alberta = Université de l’Alberta (province)

Other prepositions

Prepositions are translated in names such as the following:

  • Algoma University at Brampton = Université Algoma à Brampton
  • Trinity College in the University of Toronto = Collège Trinity à l’Université de Toronto

Name of person

If the name contains the name of a person, use the formula Université + name of person, without the preposition de between the two elements:

  • Brock University = Université Brock (named after Sir Isaac Brock)
  • Victoria University in the University of Toronto = Université Victoria à l’Université de Toronto (named after Queen Victoria)

Hyphen

A hyphen is used between a first name and family name:

  • Wilfrid Laurier University = Université Wilfrid-Laurier
  • Simon Fraser University = Université Simon-Fraser
  • Conrad Grebel University College = Collège universitaire Conrad-Grebel

Possessive form (’s)

When the name contains an ’s showing possession, retain the English possessive form in French:

  • Queen’s University = Université Queen’s
  • Bishop’s University = Université Bishop’s
  • St. Jerome’s University = Université St. Jerome’s

Name of saint

When the name contains the name of a saint, retain the English spelling:

  • St. Francis Xavier University = Université St. Francis Xavier
  • Saint Mary’s University = Université Saint Mary’s

More complex cases

Non-translation

Do not translate a name (or elements of a name) if the translated name might be unrecognizable or lead to confusion:

  • la University of St. Michael’s College [at the University of Toronto] (not l’Université du Collège St. Michael’s or l’Université St. Michael’s College)
  • le University College [at the University of Manitoba] (not le Collège universitaire)
  • le New College [at York University] (not le Nouveau Collège)

Partial translation

We recommend that you translate only the type of institution in the case of names that could be translated in a variety of ways and that, if translated in full, would become unrecognizable or lead to confusion. This is the case especially for names that contain a compass point or a geographical element (such as the name of a region, mountain, valley, cape, etc.):

  • University of Western Ontario = Université Western Ontario
  • Trinity Western University = Université Trinity Western
  • University of Mount Royal = Université Mount Royal
  • University of Fraser Valley = Université Fraser Valley
  • Cape Breton University = Université Cape Breton
  • Royal Roads University = Université Royal Roads
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland = Université Memorial de Terre-Neuve
  • Acadia University = Université Acadia

Full translation

When a partial translation is not practical, names should be translated in full if their translation does not lead to confusion:

  • British Columbia Institute of Technology = Institut de technologie de la Colombie-Britannique
  • Canadian Mennonite University = Université mennonite canadienne
  • First Nations University of Canada = Université canadienne des Premières Nations

References

For official and unofficial names of Canadian universities in English and French, along with our suggested translations, see TERMIUM Plus®.