To supplement my translating income, in September I started a new job as a judicial interpreter (French and English) with the Court of Quebec. It’s actually really interesting work and I seem to have a flair for it (the judge in a murder case I did complimented my work in court, and the prosecutor called my boss to add his praise, which apparently never happens, so that was a nice moment).
Part of the job is occasionally being called upon to interpret in other courthouses throughout the province. Up to now, I’ve only worked in the Montreal courthouse and youth court, although I almost was sent to Longueuil (a suburb) last week.
Anyway, I got a call this morning from a court employee in Amos, in the Abitibi region, and he wants me to fly up to do a case next week. We’re discussing the modalities – besides court time, I’m paid for my travel time, and of course the plane, taxi, hotel, and food are paid. Just to clarify, I say, “So, I’m paid up to the time I land in Amos --”
“Oh, not Amos,” he interrupts. “Kuujjuaq.”
Kuujjuaq is the largest Inuit community and regional centre and transport hub of Nunavik, the Inuit region that makes up the northern third of Quebec. It’s a town of 2,000 people on Ungava Bay, and it sits above the 58th parallel of north latitude, 900 km north-northeast of Montreal. It has direct flights to Montreal as well as to Quebec City, Iqaluit, and Nunavik’s other communities. Like all communities in Nunavik, as well as Nunavut and some other northern regions, the only way in or out (other than by sea during the ice-free period) is by plane.
So a bit of a splash for my first actual business trip ever.
I’ve always had a curiosity about Canada’s north, though owing to astonishingly high air fares and all other types of costs, it’s not one that’s easily satisfied. Both my parents have been to Iqaluit at different times – my mom in the 70s when it was still Frobisher Bay, Northwest Territories, and my dad in 1999 for the creation of Nunavut. He also reported from Nunavik in 1999 on a deadly avalanche in Kangiqsualujjuaq (spelled it right my first try!), and did a pair of acclaimed documentaries on the Dené community of Délįne on Great Bear Lake in the NWT. He even brought me once on a report to Thompson, Manitoba, although I forget what about.
So I’m really excited. It’s not fully confirmed yet, though, as Quebec is currently experiencing a Crown attorneys’ strike and the case may not proceed. But I’m looking forward to seeing a region that despite being in my own province is so very different from my own and not one I thought I’d ever get to see.