translator: sam holmes
Granton Primary School’s Year 5 students took on the Translation Nation challenge in 2011 and 2012 with the help of French teacher Sam Holmes.
When it came to sharing their stories from around the world, the children were very excited about reading out loud in their home languages. Several parents also visited the school to tell stories and sing songs from their many cultures and native languages, including Gujarati, Polish, Urdu and French. Class members also brought in tales their parents had told them at home, and one student had even interviewed his next door neighbour to find a foreign language story to bring to the class.
Over the following sessions, the children focused on polishing their translations and embraced the challenge of the creative writing process. It presented the perfect opportunity for the students to apply the literacy skills they had practised in their classrooms to produce fluent stories in English. The children absolutely loved creating and gathering costumes and props to accompany their completed translations and really looked forward to presenting them to an audience. In 2011 a story translated from Polish was picked as the winner, and in 2012 a descriptive translation of the Bulgarian tale The Legend of Martenitsa beat stiff competition from stories and poems originating from Denmark, Turkey and France. Teachers received lots of comments from children in key stage 2 who watched the final performances and were highly impressed by the imaginative stories and settings.
Translation Nation at Granton Primary School was a special opportunity for the children and parents to bring their cultures together and understand more about each other. The teachers observed that the experience had empowered the multilingual children and boosted their confidence, as well as helping them to recognise their language abilities as a life long advantage. It was a valuable experience for the English speaking students too that helped them to develop empathy and admiration for their foreign language speaking friends. Additionally, Translation Nation helped the teachers to appreciate the fantastic language skills of their pupils and to see what a wonderful asset these are for the school.