Cover photo for Dr. Roda P. Roberts's Obituary
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Dr. Roda P. Roberts

June 28, 1941 — October 4, 2023


Dr. Roda P. Roberts passed away on October 4, 2023, at her home in Ottawa, Ontario. She was born on June 28, 1941, in Bombay (now Mumbai), India. She leaves behind her cherished daughter, Lena Cybulskie (Phil) and her four beloved grandchildren, Mikaela, Rhys, Keegan and Kat. She is also survived by her nephew Kevin McCarthy (Teresita) in England, and her cousin Armaity Desai in India. She was predeceased by her parents, Phiroze and Piloo Nariman, and her twin sister, Roshan McCarthy. Roda will be greatly missed by her countless friends.


Roda had a long and distinguished career. She came to Canada in 1966 to pursue her studies at Laval University, earning her Master’s degree, and then her PhD. She was a professor in India, in the USA and in three provinces in Canada. In 1979, she finally settled in Ottawa, where she became the Director of the School of Translation and Interpretation at the University of Ottawa. Roda was a leader of the Bilingual Canadian Dictionary project for many years, well past her retirement, and numerous graduate students delved into the realm of lexicography during their collaborations with her on the dictionary and in their own research. Roda was also active in the education of community interpreters and interpreter trainers throughout Canada and internationally. Her diverse collaborative projects also spanned terminology and writing assistance. She leaves behind a substantial body of work encapsulated in numerous presentations and publications spanning her career, and has had a profound influence on the fields of translation and lexicography in Canada and beyond. 


Roda had many interests beyond her remarkable career. She and her sister had been ballroom dancers in their youth in India, and Roda continued to dance throughout the latter part of her life. Her love of this activity had her traveling to various dance competitions and opening a studio in the early 2000s. She had also rediscovered a love for playing piano and painting in recent years. Despite only having discovered a love for hockey later in life, Roda was a dedicated Ottawa Senators fan. She attended many games and always followed the team closely. She eagerly anticipated the new season.


A world traveler for both pleasure and work, Roda made yearly visits to Spain for many years. After having been introduced to life at the Llano Grande Resort in Texas by friends, she purchased a place of her own there in 2012. She spent some of the best winters of her life at Llano, making many friends and memories. She had been looking forward to returning in November. 


Roda will be well remembered as a highly intelligent, courageous, and interesting person by her many friends all over the world. She cared deeply about those close to her and made sure they knew it. She was an inspiration to many. 


A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations be made in Roda’s memory to the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region (, where Roda was a volunteer for over twenty years. 

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