ric Norman McMillan died suddenly of a heart attack in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 22, aged 65. He will be sorely missed by his family, by the Washington translation community, and in many other circles.
Eric was born in Drogheda in Ireland in 1938 and educated in Belfast and at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, England, where he received a B.A. and M.A. in Modern and Mediaeval languages. Soon after graduation he joined Shell Oil at The Hague in the Netherlands as a translator. Among his colleagues there were at least two with whom he was to be reunited in the Language Services Division of the World Bank, which Eric joined in 1973. Here he soon became a key member of a highly skilled unit, regularly working from at least five languages.
Given the scope and complexity of many World Bank projects, the work was often highly technical. Eric therefore always emphasized that, since direct mastery of the terminology of dozens of diverse fields was impossible, the translator must become an intelligent problem-solver. More than half the battle might lie in a shrewd assessment as to where an authoritative answer might be found, and then digging to locate it. This, it should be noted, was before today's massive on-line glossaries and data banks.
Eric's abilities in translation administration led to his appointment as English Translation Section manager in 1990, the position he held on retirement in 1993. Both the World Bank and the ATA were well served by Eric's experience in and attachment to his profession; he was an ATA Board member for seven years.
Outside the office Eric was for many years a keen hiker, but loved above all to travel to distant shores and different cultures, often with Smithsonian Institution expeditions. He also recorded the Smithsonian magazine for the blind. He was an enthusiastic philatelist, which led to his becoming a docent at the National Postal Museum, and a philosophical gardener on his city plot.
Eric was married twice, first to Anneke Pleisier and subsequently to Christine Windheuser, both of whom survive him. He was the loving father of two children, Bryan McMillan and Vanessa Carns, and grandfather of six. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to his family at this time.