• Subscribe to our e-letters

  • Facebook_icon

Translators in Schools

Translators in Schools is the Stephen Spender Trust's flagship education programme. It raises the profile of translation, multilingualism and language-learning through:
  • Creative translation workshops in schools
  • Teacher-training, consultancy and public engagement in the field of multilingual creativity
  • Developing creative translation resources for teachers and translators
If you're a teacher or translator interested in finding out more about the project, please contact the

Watch the Translators in Schools film to find out more about the thinking behind the Translators in Schools programme and see our translators in action.

Please scroll down for the history of Translators in Schools, or click on one of the following links for our latest news:

Latest news

  • Read about our brand new education programme, Creative Translation in the Classroom.
  • Teacher of Classics and German at St John's School in Leatherhead Oscar Barber has found that poetry translation is a fascinating, versatile and rewarding activity for his pupils. Here he offers an insight into St John's annual poetry translation competition — an ideal warm-up for the Stephen Spender Prize.
  • An article about our Polish Spotlight programme in the EAL Journal
  • Workshops in Bognor Regis, facilitated by Maja Konkolewska
    Adventurous attempts at preserving rhymes: Polish poetry translation
  • A partnership with the European Commission Representation in the UK enabled us to evaluate our new programmes in 2017–18, including 'Creative Translation in the Classroom' (see below) and the 'Polish Spotlight'. Click here to read the summary of our evaluation findings (pdf file).
  • Our 'Polish Spotlight' translation workshops 2017–18
  • Tips for holding a poetry translation workshop in your school
  • An example of a translation workshop for primary school pupils
  • Tips for teachers wishing to enter pupils into the Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation

Translators in Schools: Creative Translation in the Classroom

After running several programmes for translators, training them to deliver translation activities to young people from primary age upwards, Translators in Schools entered an exciting new phase in 2017. With the support of the Rothschild Foundation, we embarked on a programme of CPD and practice-sharing for teachers and translators. On a sunny day in June 2017, the Dairy at Waddesdon Manor transformed into a hub of creative translation activity: a group of literary translators were brought together with teachers from Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire for a day of discussion and practice-sharing. How can creative translation activities support literacy in schools? How do these activities sit with the new MFL curricula? What can translators offer teachers, and how can they work together to develop innovative new practice? So 'Creative Translation in the Classroom' was born, with four teacher-translator pairs working together during the rest of the year to develop creative translation workshops in school settings. From Urdu poems to Argentine comics, Brazilian telenovelas to Spanish poetry, these workshops showcased the creative energy that can be unlocked when literary translation enters the classroom.

You can read more about the CPD day at Waddesdon on the Rothschild Foundation website.
Click below to read accounts of the four in-school workshops by our translator-teacher pairs:

Lucy Christmas and Ann Coulter – Waddesdon C of E School
Shazea Quraishi and Lea Ottocento – Sir William Ramsay School
'Shadow Heroes' and Tim Kendall – Headington School
Cheryl Moskowitz and Kamraan Khan – Sir William Ramsay School

The Background to Translators in Schools

The three-stage training for translators has been run three times, and in 2015 a standalone training day for primary and secondary teachers was introduced. Read about the first ever training day in Ulrike Nichols' article, which is reproduced by kind permission of the Institute of Translators and Interpreters, in whose January/February Bulletin it first appeared.

In November 2015, graduates of the training programme came together in the Clore Ballroom of the Royal Festival Hall for The Big Translate, when 60 schoolchildren from local primary schools translated into English ten strikingly illustrated books from around the world. The Big Translate was supported by public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the European Commission.

A second Big Translate, this time supported by the Mercers' Company, was held at Short Wood Primary School in the West Midlands in June 2016, when the children translated books from Russian, Polish, Croatian and French with the help of five graduates of the Translators in Schools programme.

"I am hugely supportive of Translators in Schools. The project's leaders have a clear understanding of how to motivate and enthuse both children and non-specialist teachers, promoting language learning and opening children's eyes to the opportunities which languages offer them."
Julie Jones, Short Wood Primary School, July 2016

To find out more and to sign up to be alerted to future training days, please visit the Translators in Schools website:

Translators in Schools for MA students and others

With further funding from the Gulbenkian Foundation and European Commission, a second round of Translators in Schools training took place, this time aimed primarily at Translation MA students, MFL PGCE students and undergraduates studying modern languages who are considering careers in translation or teaching. Hosted by the University of Roehampton's Centre for Language Studies, an oversubscribed Day 1 took place on Wednesday 30 April. As part of Day 2 on 4 June, 20 translators delivered translation workshops to 60 children from Hillcross Primary School. With the help of the translators, the children translated sections of French, Japanese, Spanish, Bulgarian, Italian, Greek, German and Polish children's books into English.

"The Translators in Schools day was one of those professional opportunities that changes you. It opened up a whole new realm of possibilities in the classroom. It was priceless. The children raved about the workshop on the way back to school; they shared it with a passion and urgency that demonstrated a fundamental shift in thinking and perception."
Mike Flowers (Hillcross Primary School, Merton)

Translators in Schools 2015

Translators in Schools ran again in 2015 in two forms: a standalone training day for teachers and a three–stage course for translators and teaching assistants. In November graduates of the training programme came together in the Clore Ballroom of the Southbank Centre to run The Big Translate, when 60 schoolchildren translated into English ten strikingly illustrated books from around the world. More information can be found on the Translators in Schools website.

Sarah Ardizzone is an award-winning translator from the French for children and adults alike, with authors including Faïza Guène, Daniel Pennac, Joann Sfar, Mathias Malzieu and Timothée de Fombelle. She has a special interest in translating sharp dialogue, urban and migrant slang, and in what Alain Mabanckou calls "a world literature in French". Sarah curated the primary school strand of Translation Nation. She has twenty-four years' experience of running workshops in primary and secondary schools, from Buenos Aires and Paris to British inner-cities. Her playful approach is rooted in her original training in physical theatre with Jacques Lecoq in Paris.

Sam Holmes is a modern languages teacher specialising in provision for pupils with English as an additional language, and is currently completing a PhD in this field at King's College, London. He has delivered training 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 created the Portuguese language course for Arsenal FC's Double Club scheme on behalf of Routes into Languages, and has delivered Portuguese creative writing workshops from South London to South Wales. This year he curated the secondary school strand of Translation Nation and developed a series of mother tongue creative writing courses for teenagers on behalf of the Gulbenkian Foundation.

Our thanks to Free Word, the European Commission, the University of Roehampton, King's College London and Westminster School, who have all hosted training days, and to the Southbank Centre for hosting The Big Translate.

For more information and to sign up to be alerted to future training days, please visit the Translators in Schools website:

Supported by