Category Archives: Translation

Big Think Competition

St Edmund Hall at the University of Oxford is running its annual Big Think Competition!

Every year, The Big Think invites students across the UK to tackle one of our academics’ ‘big’ questions. These questions have been specially designed to challenge you beyond your normal school curriculum – helping you explore the latest breakthroughs in your subject and what it might be like to study it at university. Entering can also help boost your personal statement for university applications.

The competition opened on Friday 1 March. To enter, simply record a video of 5 minutes or less presenting your arguments and opinions. No need for fancy equipment or to show your face if you don’t want – feel free to get creative!

Winners will receive:

  • £100 (First Prize)
  • £50 (Second Prize)
  • £35 (Subject Commendations)

Winners will also all be invited to Oxford for the day where they will get to discuss their entries with subject tutors, tour round with current students and enjoy lunch in our dining hall.

Big Think: Modern Languages

The ‘Big Think’ question for Modern Languages this year is:

Is there such a thing as an untranslatable word?

This question has been set by Dr Holly Langstaff, tutor in Modern Languages at St Edmund Hall. Holly researches and teaches French literature from the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries. She also runs several outreach initiatives, such as the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation, the Think Like a Linguist project and Bristol Translates Summer School.

The competition will close Wednesday 1 May. To view the full list of questions and enter, visit seh.ac/bigthink. Good luck!

Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators

The Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators is a creative translation competition for students aged 11-18 studying French, German, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish. The competition also runs from French into Welsh. The Prize is free to enter and open to all schools across the UK. 

The 2023-24 prize launches today (20 September), when creative translation teaching packs will be shared with teachers in time for European Day of Languages on 26 September and International Translation Day on 30 September. These teaching packs are designed to help teachers bring creative translation into the MFL classroom as well as to help students prepare for the competition task.

Don’t worry if you have not yet registered! There is still plenty of time for teachers to do so as the competition itself will run over several weeks from 5 February to 28 March 2024. Area and national winners will be announced in May or June 2023. They will receive certificates and national winners will receive book prizes.

Over 15,000 students participated in the competition in 2023: see the list of winners and commendations in 2023.  For those registered, teaching packs for poetry translation will be circulated today, fiction will follow after October half term, and non-fiction will be released in early January.  Register to receive these resources and for updates about the competition task, click here

There are a number of related activities run by the Queen’s Translation Exchange that teachers and pupils can participate in, details of which can be found here.

If you have any queries regarding the competition, please contact the Translation Exchange team at translation.exchange@queens.ox.ac.uk.

Stephen Spender Prize 2023

This week, we pass over to our friends at the Stephen Spender Trust to tell us about their 2023 prize for poetry in translation.

Translate ANY poem from ANY language into English, and win publication and cash prizes! Language lovers and budding poets of all ages are warmly invited to take part in the Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation, open to adults aged 19+ from all over the world, as well as to individual young people and school pupils in the UK and Ireland and students at British Schools Overseas.

For 2023 there will also be a special language focus with the Ukrainian Spotlight strand, open to all young people in the UK and Ireland aged 18 and under.

The deadline to submit entries is 14th July.

Details:

Entrants are invited to submit an English translation of a published poem from any language, ancient or modern, together with a commentary of no more than 300 words. The translation should be max. 60 lines (extracts are accepted). All forms and genres are welcome, including texts from rap, spoken word and slam poetry. We also welcome translations from sign language.

Prize strands:

  • International Open Entry (NEW FOR 2023) – For adults aged 19+ from all over the world.
  • Individual Youth Entry – For individual young people in the UK and Ireland or attending British schools overseas. Two age categories: 14-and-under; 18-and-under.
  • Schools Laureate Prize (NEW FOR 2023) – For teachers submitting on behalf of their students, open to schools in the UK and Ireland and British schools overseas. Four categories for pupils from KS1 to KS5.
  • Ukrainian Spotlight (NEW FOR 2023) – For young people in the UK and Ireland or at British schools overseas. Entries can be submitted individually or by teachers on behalf of students. Three age categories: KS1-2, KS3-4 and KS5.
  • Teacher Laureate Prize (NEW FOR 2023) – Free to enter for all teachers at schools that have entered pupils for the Schools Laureate or Ukrainian Spotlight strands.

Judges:

Open category: Taher Adel, Jennifer Wong, Samantha Schnee
Youth categories (Individual Youth Entry and Schools Laureate Prize): Keith Jarrett
Ukrainian Spotlight: Nina Murray

Prizes:

  • Open Entry: £1000 (1st), £500 (2nd), £250 (3rd)
  • Individual Youth Entry, Schools Laureate Prize and Ukrainian Spotlight: Cash prizes of up to £100 for the winners in each age category.
  • Teacher Laureate Prize: Annual print subscription to Modern Poetry in Translation for the winning teacher, plus a Stephen Spender Prize workshop for their school during the next academic year.

All winners will have their translations published in our 2023 prize booklet and will be invited to participate in our livestreamed awards ceremony in the autumn. The winner of the Open category will also be published in Modern Poetry in Translation.

In each age category we will additionally reward three Highly Commended entrants and up to 30 Commendees, as well as three special First-Time Entrant Commendations in the Open category.  

Entry Fee: 

Open category: £10 per translated poem, or £5 per additional poem in the same submission.
Youth and teacher categories: Free

Further details: 

Full information on how to enter can be found on the Stephen Spender Prize homepage and the different category subpages.

For a wealth of poetry translation inspiration, including advice for those trying poetry translation for the first-time, explore our Guide to Poetry Translation for Newcomers, the archive of tutorials and testimonials on the Stephen Spender Trust YouTube channel, and the multilingual bank of suggested poems for translation in our Prize Resources hub.

Good luck to all entrants!

International Book Club – AUTUMN MEETING

In this week’s blog post, our colleagues from The Queen’s College Translation Exchange share details of their next International Book Club meeting – a really wonderful opportunity for school students to engage with literature from around the world!

The International Book Club for Schools is a chance for sixth-form students to explore foreign language books which have been translated into English with other like-minded, literature-loving peers. We meet once a term to discuss a foreign language book in English translation. No knowledge of the original language is required to take part. The meetings take place over Microsoft Teams, and places are open to school pupils in Years 11, 12 and 13/S4-6. Newcomers are always very welcome!

Our next session will be held on Wednesday 30th November at 7pm, and we will be reading Quesadillas by Juan Pablo Villalobos, translated from Spanish by Rosalind Harvey. Set in the 1980s in Lagos de Moreno, Quesadillas offers a lively, cynical, and satirical take on Mexican politics and family life, in a world where the possible and the impossible seem to have switched places.

For anyone thinking of studying languages at university, there will also be a chance to hear more about what this would entail during a half-hour Q&A session with current Oxford University students, chaired by the Schools Liaison and Outreach Officer at the Queen’s College. These meetings are a perfect opportunity for students to explore books that aren’t on their school syllabus and to engage with some exciting literature in translation.  

Students can sign up to attend the Book Club by completing this Google Form.

To take part in the International Book Club, students will need to purchase and read a copy of the set book in advance of the session. If a student’s financial situation makes it impossible to purchase a copy of the book, drop us an email (translation.exchange@queens.ox.ac.uk) and we will do our best to work something out.

If you have any questions about the Book Club, please do also get in touch at the email address above!

Prismatic Jane Eyre Schools Project: Resources

The Prismatic Jane Eyre Schools Project (2021–2022) has now come to a close. This was an AHRC-funded joint project between the University of Oxford and the Stephen Spender Trust.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Jane-eyre-1024x244.jpg
Image taken from the Stephen Spender Trust website

On 30 September 2021 — International Translation Day — the nationwide competition was launched. Entrants were asked to compose a poem in a language other than English inspired by a selected passage from Jane Eyre. The competition accepted submissions in any language, and 136 entries were received in 26 languages — including Sindarin, a form of Elvish devised by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Up to 100 entries to the competition have been included in an anthology, which will be published online and in print in September 2022.

The Project drew on translation as an educational tool to explore how Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel has been translated since its publication in 1847 and how its plots and themes can be used as a springboard for new creative works. It comprised of three core activities: a series of translation workshops; a nation-wide translation competition (as mentioned above); and a bank of resources for teachers and pupils.  

The bank of resources aims to allow more young people to enjoy creative translation activities based on Jane Eyre. Initially developed to support entries to the competition, these resources now provide a lasting legacy for the Project.  

Three types of resources are available: 

  1. A handout that outlines an approach to creating a poem from a passage of prose (all languages) 
  2. PowerPoint workshops for teachers to deliver in school with accompanying worksheets (Arabic, French, Polish, Spanish) 
  3. Pupil-led activity worksheets (Arabic, French, Polish, Spanish). 

The Project’s resources are available here and here. To accompany these resources, we’ve created a short video explaining what creative translation is, and why it’s important. The video is available to view below.  

Prismatic Jane Eyre: Translators’ Video

The Stephen Spender Prize 2022

The Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation, in association with The Guardian, is now open for entries. Anybody in the UK and Ireland can enter, regardless of age or linguistic skill. The Stephen Spender Trust’s (SST) Resources hub is full of virtual resources to make the prize accessible from home, as well as teaching packs to bring poetry translation into the classroom.

This year, the prize is more inclusive and vibrant than ever, from British Sign Language translation to new prizes for first-time entrants. SST’s virtual poetry booklets collect together poems in more than 17 languages.

SST Director Charlotte Ryland:

“Poetry translation is a perfect activity for these challenging times: it is a gentle and structured approach to creativity, without the intimidating blank page that can put off many would-be poets; it is an opportunity for parents and children to work together, in particular in families where more than one language is spoken; and it is a task that can be shared with peers and teachers.”

This year’s judges are acclaimed poets, translators and educators Khairani Barokka, Daljit Nagra and Samantha Schnee.

Khairani Barokka, Daljit Nagra and Samantha Schnee

Closing date: 15 July 2022

  • Categories: Open (adult), 18-and-under, 16-and-under, 14-and-under
  • Top prize of £1,000
  • All winning entries published in the 2022 Stephen Spender Prize booklet
  • Special ‘Spotlight’ prize for translation from Romanian, judged by Gabi Reigh

Full details on the SST website. Good luck to all participants!

We’re Back!

We hope you all had a restful break with family and friends over the last couple of weeks, whether you were observing religious traditions or hunting for chocolate in the garden (or both!)

Here at Oxford, Trinity term is already underway and it looks to be another busy one, albeit much sunnier than the last!

To ease us back into the new term, here are a few exciting events and opportunities to get involved in over the next couple of weeks!

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Modern Languages Subject Day – Tuesday 10th May, Exeter College

If you are a Year 11 or 12 student who is interested in exploring your options for University, then this day is perfect for you! This Subject Day will include opportunities to experience sessions in French, German, Italian, and Spanish. 

To register for your place, please fill out this form, which should take around 5 to 10 minutes to complete. The deadline to apply is Tuesday 3rd May at 9am.

If you have any questions, please contact outreach@exeter.ox.ac.uk.

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Songs We Learn From Trees – Thursday 5th May, The Queen’s College

On Thursday 5th May, at 4:30-8pm, the Queen’s Translation Exchange are running an in-person workshop and readings based on Songs We Learn from Trees, the first anthology of Amharic poetry in English.

Sign up here to attend!

Sign up for free here to discuss and celebrate Ethiopian poetry in an evening of readings by Ethiopian poets and their translator, followed by a drinks reception.

The event will feature the following poets:

  • Misrak Terefe
  • Bedilu Wakjira
  • Kebedech Tekleab
  • Alemu Tebeje
  • Hama Tuma [virtually]
  • Mihret Kibede [virtually]

with translator and anthology editor, Chris Beckett.

The poets will read from their own and other poets’ work in the anthology, as well as answer any questions the audience may have about the thriving poetry scene in Addis Ababa.

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Modern Languages Open Day – Saturday 7th May, Examination Schools

There’s still a week left to sign up to attend our in-person Open Day at the Examination Schools, here in Oxford.

The Open Day will offer an overview of our modern languages courses and a general Q&A for prospective students in the morning, with individual language sessions and a companions’ Q&A session occurring in the afternoon. Academics, current students and members of staff from the Faculty will all be in attendance to answer your questions and give invaluable insight into studying languages at Oxford. You can view the full event programme here.

Please note that booking for this event is compulsory – you can register your attendance here

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Modern Languages Summer School – 15th-19th August, Wadham College

Wadham’s annual Summer School programme is an excellent opportunity for Year 12 state school pupils to be an Oxford languages student for a week.

Students on Wadham’s Modern Languages Summer School, taken from Wadham College’s website

Throughout the week, pupils will take part in an academic programme, live in College, meet student ambassadors studying at Oxford, and receive information, advice and guidance on applying to university. 

The Summer School is completely free and Wadham will provide financial support to pupils to cover any travel costs.

You can find out more information and the application form here. Applications are currently open and the deadline to submit is Friday 3rd June at 5pm.

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TRANSLATION CONTEST

A reminder that the Prismatic Jane Eyre translation competition for schools is still open for entries:

The Prismatic Jane Eyre School Project is a nationwide creative translation competition for school learners run by the University of Oxford and the Stephen Spender Trust. The competition is a celebration of all languages taught in schools and spoken in homes across the UK.

Entrants are asked to produce a poem in another language inspired by a selected passage from Jane Eyre. The competition accepts submissions in any language from learners in Key Stages 3-5 / S1-6, and all entries need to be accompanied by a literal translation into English. Pupils will be rewarded for their creativity. Up to 100 entries to the competition will be published in a printed anthology, which will also be available online.

Support materials are available on our resources page. Additional activity packs are provided in four languages (Arabic, French, Polish, and Spanish). These materials give learners and teachers the chance to take part in creative translation activities related to Jane Eyre at home or in the classroom.

The competition guidelines and selected passages are available on this webpage. The competition deadline is 1 March 2022. 

Interested teachers and prospective entrants can receive regular updates about the competition (or the project more generally) by registering their interest using this form.

For queries, contact PJEschools@ell.ox.ac.uk.

PRISMATIC JANE EYRE SCHOOLS PROJECT

Prismatic Jane Eyre Project

The Prismatic Jane Eyre Schools Project is an AHRC-funded joint project with the University of Oxford and the Stephen Spender Trust (SST), the leading UK charity for creative multilingual activities in schools.  

Over 2021, the Project is running workshops in translation and creative writing for young people who are learning modern languages or are speakers of community languages. Using the classic novel Jane Eyre and research about how the text has been translated across the world since its 1847 publication, professional translators will deliver workshops to secondary schools in the UK.  

A nation-wide creative translation competition will be launched on 30 September 2021 – International Translation Day! The competition deadline is March 2021. Entrants are asked to produce a poem in another language inspired by a selected passage from Jane Eyre. The competition accepts submissions in any language, and all entries need to be accompanied by a literal translation into English.   

Up to 100 entries to the competition will be published in a printed anthology, which will also be available online.  

Support materials will be available on our resources page:  https://prismaticjaneeyre.org/resources/. Additional activity packs will be provided in the workshop languages (Arabic, French, Polish, and Spanish) by October 2021. These materials give learners and teachers the chance to take part in creative translation activities related to Jane Eyre at home or in the classroom.  

The competition guidelines and selected passages will be made available online on 30 September 2021 on this webpage: https://prismaticjaneeyre.org/competition-details/.   

If you are a teacher who would like regular updates about the competition or the project more generally, please register your interest using this form. https://forms.office.com/r/JV2k133s3Z.  

Queries can be directed to Dr Eleni Philippou at PJEschools@ell.ox.ac.uk

Stephen Spender Prize for Poetry in Translation

The Stephen Spender Prize 2021

The Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation, in association with The Guardian, is now open for entries. Anybody in the UK and Ireland can enter, regardless of age or linguistic skill. SST’s Multilingual Creativity hub is full of virtual resources to make the prize accessible from home, as well as teaching packs to bring poetry translation into the classroom.

This year the prize is more inclusive and vibrant than ever, from British Sign Language translation to new prizes for first-time entrants. SST’s virtual poetry booklets collect together poems in more than 15 languages.

SST Director Charlotte Ryland:

“Poetry translation is a perfect activity for these challenging times: it is a gentle and structured approach to creativity, without the intimidating blank page that can put off many would-be poets; it is an opportunity for parents and children to work together, in particular in families where more than one language is spoken; and it is a task that can be shared with peers and teachers.”

This year’s judges are acclaimed poets, translators and educators Khairani Barokka, Daljit Nagra and Samantha Schnee.

Closing date: 16 July 2021

  • Categories: Open (adult), 18-and-under, 16-and-under, 14-and-under
  • Top prize of £1,000
  • All winning entries published in a booklet
  • Special ‘Spotlight’ prize for translation from Urdu, judged by Sascha Aurora Akhtar

Full details on the SST website: https://www.stephen-spender.org/stephen-spender-prize/