Born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, she was brought up in Ontario. She holds an M.A. from the University of Toronto. Fischman is a former editor of the Montreal Star's book section, as well as a columnist for the Globe & Mail and the Montreal Gazette and a broadcaster for CBC Radio. She is a founding member of the Literary Translators' Association of Canada and founding co-editor of Ellipse: Œuvres en traduction/Writers in Translation. She currently lives in Montreal.
Fischman has translated nearly 150 Quebec novels into English, including works by such noted Quebec authors as Michel Tremblay, Jacques Poulin, Anne Hébert, Marie-Claire Blais, Roch Carrier, Yves Beauchemin, Kim Thúy and François Gravel.
Honours and Citations 
Since 1987, Fischman has received 14 nominations for the Governor General's Award for Translation, receiving the prize in 1988 for Bambi and Me, her translation of Michel Tremblay's Les vues animés. She has twice won the Canada Council Prize for Translation (in 1974 and 1984) and the Félix-Antoine Savard Award offered by the Translation Center, Columbia University (in 1989 and 1990). Her translation of Pascale Quiviger's The Perfect Circle was a finalist for the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize and her translation of Am I Disturbing You by Anne Hébert was a finalist for the same prize in 2000. Three of Fischman's translations have been selected for Canada Reads: Next Episode by Hubert Aquin in 2003; Volkswagen Blues by Jacques Poulin in 2005; and The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant by Michel Tremblay in 2008.
In recognition of her work, Fischman has received honorary doctorates from the University of Ottawa and the University of Waterloo. In 2000, she was invested into the Order of Canada and, in 2008, into the Ordre national du Québec. She won the 2008 Molson Prize for the Arts.
- "Sheila Leah Fischman". The Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
- "Sheila Fischman". CBC. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
- P Scowen (May 5, 2009). "Charles Taylor Prize names new jury". he Globe and Mail. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
- "Sheila Fischman, Angus McLaren win Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prizes". The Canada Council for the Arts. 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2011.