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Poetry in translation project at Christ's Hospital school in Sussex

Christs Hospital pupils
Teacher Stephen Walsh was so inspired by the educational benefits enjoyed by pupils who entered last year's Stephen Spender competition that he has developed a school-wide poetry in translation project at Christ's Hospital school in Sussex.

Pupils with relatives who speak a language other than English were encouraged to find a poem in that language and work with family members to produce a literal version to bring back to school for further development and entry into the 2012 competition. Meanwhile students following the IB diploma course translated a poem from any language, ancient or modern, in preparation for their World Literature module, and senior classicists and linguists were encouraged to have a go.

More than 30 poems have been so far submitted in no fewer than 22 languages ranging from French, German and Spanish to Afrikaans, Montenegrin and Portuguese Creole. Staff members too have chipped in their own efforts in Bengali, Irish and siNdebele.

The 'buzz' around the project led to the senior school's extension group, Symposium, choosing to explore the whole notion of translation. In a series of discussions translating poetry was explored but so was the idea of translation in a range of other fields, such as History, Linguistics, Religious Studies (the influence of the King James Bible) and Biology (RNA and DNA).