highbury fields school

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translator: sara caba

Writer, translator and Spanish teacher Sara Caba took Translation Nation to Highbury Fields School in summer 2013. Spanish learning pupils in Years 8 and 9 took part in a workshop which gave them a fresh outlook on foreign language learning, and invited them to use their creativity to create their own subtitles for the Spanish film ‘Cobardes’ or ‘Cowards’.

Some pupils didn’t feel very confident in their ability to speak or understand Spanish, but their interest grew when watching the dynamic opening to the film and when they realised that the story was about young people about the same age as themselves.

The girls worked collaboratively to translate transcripts from the film using a glossary and did a fantastic job role-playing the English versions and building in English slang and informal language to match the Spanish spoken by the teenage characters in the film. They were enthused to realise that translations don’t have to be word for word and that finding language to suit a film’s audience is the most important element.

Their teacher remarked that the workshops exceeded her expectations and that the girls were keen to take part in similar subtitling activities in other language lessons going forward. Many pupils were so engaged in the subtitling task that they’re now keen to find out more about becoming a translator and the steps they would need to take to make this possible.