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Translators in Schools

Funded initially by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and European Commission, Translators in Schools was launched in 2013 as a professional development programme to widen the pool of translators and teachers with the skills to run creative translation workshops in schools. Translators in School now counts public events and consultancy among its areas of activities and has become part of the wider multilingual creativity movement showcased by Free Word's Multilingual Creativity Lab in November 2015 which was co-curated by the Translators in Schools team of Sarah Ardizzone, Sam Holmes and the Stephen Spender Trust.

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

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: www.translatorsinschools.org

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: www.translatorsinschools.org


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