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Creative Translation in the Classroom:
new three-year programme from 2019

The Stephen Spender Trust's flagship education scheme, Translators in Schools, has launched a new programme: 'Creative Translation in the Classroom'. Funded by the Rothschild Foundation and the Polonsky Foundation, the focus for the new three-year programme is on bringing translators into schools for workshops and longer-term projects, training teachers in creative translation pedagogy, and developing teaching resources to be used across the curriculum.

In each year of the programme, professional translators will partner with teachers at primary, secondary and supplementary schools to deliver creative translation workshops and longer-term translation projects to pupils in Key Stages 2 and 3. While the workshops offer an initial introduction to translation, with activities based on translating comics, picture books, plays, poems and even sound effects, the longer-term projects will enable teachers to embed translation in their schools over a longer period.

This exciting new phase builds on the Stephen Spender Trust's established work on bringing creative translation into school settings, continuing the Trust's longstanding collaborations with Sarah Ardizzone (translation consultant to the programme) and Sam Holmes (education consultant to the programme). The process of creative translation develops close reading and writing skills, boosts intercultural awareness, raises confidence and self-esteem among multilingual students, and promotes creative aspiration.

The translators, teachers and students will be working with a range of languages, but each year one translator will focus on a "spotlight" language: Polish in 2019–20, Urdu in 2020–21, and Romanian in 2021–22. The Stephen Spender Prize will also include a dedicated strand for this spotlight language, and the prize itself will be developed over these three years into a more inclusive, accessible and dynamic activity for young people of all backgrounds.

The translators participating in the project in 2019/20 have been selected for their innovative approaches to translation and their extensive experience of translation workshops. Click on the names below to find out more about the team.

Ruth Ahmedzai

Creative Translation in the Classroom launch day

Poetry Translation Centre

As part of the programme, SST is partnering with the Poetry Translation Centre to develop and deliver creative translation activities for English Literature classes in secondary schools.

Based in London, the Poetry Translation Centre was established in 2004 to introduce new audiences to leading poets from around the world, as well as to better understand and celebrate the diverse communities who have made their home in the UK. They focus on poetry from Africa, Asia and Latin America, working collaboratively with poets and translators to bring new work to English-speaking audiences in the UK.

The PTC's first contact with these international poets happens at their poetry translation workshops, where a guest translator introduces the work of a new poet and participants work collaboratively towards new English versions of the poems. No former language or poetry experience is necessary to attend and enjoy the PTC workshops. This new partnership between the PTC and the Stephen Spender Trust explores how the PTC's workshop model can be developed into innovative and inspiring workshops for young people, and how it can complement the English curriculum in UK secondary schools.

Project Consultants

Sarah Ardizzone Translation Consultant

Sarah Ardizzone is an award-winning translator, with a special interest in sharp dialogue, multi-ethnic slang and in what Alain Mabanckou calls 'a world literature in French'. Most recently, she has been developing live multilingual performances for the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Co-founder of Translators in Schools, Sarah also co-curated Translation Nation, the Spectacular Translation Machine and the Big Translate. Her translation of Petit Pays ( Small Country, Hogarth Press), by Burundian-born Franco-Rwandan hip-hop poet Gaƫl Faye, was a 2019 finalist for the French-American Foundation Translation Prize and the Albertine Prize. Sarah is co-chair of English PEN's Writers in Translation committee.

Sam Holmes Education Consultant

Sam Holmes is an experienced EAL coordinator, teacher trainer and researcher. He has a PhD from King's College London looking at ethnic and linguistic monitoring in schools and is a member of the Hub for Education and Linguistic Diversity based at KCL. Sam has delivered training on catering to the needs of pupils with EAL within mainstream lessons for London Challenge, Teach First, Teach for All and Teach for India and worked with London Gifted and Talented to help develop a toolkit of strategies for stretching able bilingual students. Sam also has extensive experience with arts organisations. He developed a series of mother tongue creative writing courses for teenagers on behalf of the Gulbenkian Foundation, curated Translation Nation's film subtitling workshops for Eastside Education, created the Portuguese language course for Arsenal FC's Double Club scheme, and currently trains and mentors professional translators to deliver workshops to children as part of Translators in Schools.