tools for teachers to use in class

This resources section of the Translation Nation website is dedicated to materials and ideas to assist world language sharing and promoting language learning in schools.

primary schools

Translation Nation workshops in primary schools are designed over a three day period for Year 5 or 6 pupils. The different approaches to the project from participating schools have included: – placing the project within an International Week for the whole school and using the opportunity to broadly explore different cultures with every year group – involving EAL teachers to suggest the particular involvement of certain pupils and monitor benefits – choosing a combination of Year 5 and 6 children for the project to enable cross-year group relationships to develop – running parallel sessions for Year 5 and 6 children not involved in the Translation Nation hub groups to extend the benefits of the project – offering teachers who speak additional languages the opportunity to contribute to story-telling sessions – a focus on IT development – selecting particular languages for the project to ensure involvement of particular sets of pupils – increasing the involvement of parents/guardians/family members by inviting them to attend additional project sessions.

Benefits to participants have included: – awareness of the different languages spoken by the pupils of the school – greater understanding of cultural traditions and the benefits and flexibility of translation – interaction with family members through homework tasks and encouragement for family members to attend to classroom sessions – access to poignant translated stories and discussion around recurring themes – increased confidence of pupils for whom English is a second or third language – improved writing techniques, including the use of synonyms, direct speech, story structure and tone – introduction to the process of editing, improving text and auto correction – individual attention to boost self-esteem and inspire contribution – practice of reading out loud and conveying emotion through expression – exercising teamwork to pool talents and strengths to complete group tasks – participation in a creative, imaginative and shared school experience.

Please click on the links below to download a Translation Nation primary schools workshop plan.





secondary schools

The secondary school Translation Nation model has been developed through consultation with teachers and translators, and in the hope of taking a step towards countering the falling numbers of students in the UK continuing with MFL learning in school and considering further studies and professional pathways using languages and translation.

Post summer exams in the 2012/13 academic year the secondary school pilot was delivered in six schools in and around London with workshops for pupils in Years 8 and 9 studying French or Spanish. In each school the Eastside translators worked with one class of approximately 30 students at a time and over two or three visits were able to work with up to nine classes in total. The workshop is designed to ideally take place over a two hour double period but has flexibility to be presented in a slightly shorter timeframe if necessary.

The initial interactive presentation captures the importance of languages in social and professional contexts, and highlights popular celebrities that endorse bi-lingualism and learning languages in schools. It also suggests to students a diverse and appealing set of jobs in which languages and translation play a central role.

Students are introduced to a variety of dynamic French and Spanish film clips and consider the many challenges translators face when they’re tasked with creating subtitles. The focus films for 2013 Translation Nation workshops were: French film ‘Entre Les Murs’ / ‘The Class’ (Laurent Cantet, 2008) and Spanish film ‘Cobardes’ / ‘Cowards’ (José Corbacho, Juan Cruz, 2008) and students create their own set of subtitles for a clip from one of these options using a pre-prepared glossary and collaboration with their peers.

The protagonists of both films are pupils much the same age as the workshop participants and the school settings provide an immediate access point. Participants are surprised to find that the young people portrayed are similar to themselves and that in the films the characters use slang in the same way that young people in the UK use language. This provides a hook to engage them in the process of creative translation and to devise subtitles suitable and relevant for the films’ audience in the UK – ie for themselves.

The participating schools have used the workshop to inspire students with little appetite for language learning and limited ability, or to stretch and raise the aspirations of pupils who are already motivated and able linguists.

Benefits to participants have included: – increased awareness of the value of modern foreign languages and languages generally – a new interest in foreign films and books in translation – a heightened desire to travel and put in practice their language skills – new found confidence in MFL lessons – encouragement to support each other with language learning and to take a collaborative approach to exercises – desire to persevere with MFL lessons to increase their options in the future – an understanding of the complexities of language and need for appropriate language to a particular context or audience – access to a translator to contextualise language learning and opportunities.

Please click on the link below to download a Translation Nation secondary schools workshop plan.


We hope that these materials provide helpful insight into the project and enable you to recreate some of the activities in your school. For any further information please contact the Eastside Educational Trust office.


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