translator: sarah ardizzone
Translator and writer Sarah Ardizzone visited Jessop Primary School in South London to lead the Translation Nation project in 2011 and 2012 with a group of children from Years 5 and 6.
Sarah encouraged the children to share their languages by teaching each other simple phrases and greetings. After a very fruitful storytelling session, the students took on the ambitious task of translating seven stories into English from Japanese, Somali, Arabic, Jamaican Patois, Italian, Yoruba and Twi. To help find inspiration for their translations, the children discussed what makes a good story, thinking about genre, characters, style and language.
To create vivid and interesting performances of their stories, the children incorporated music, images and portions of the original languages. Jamaican Patois proved a popular language with a story called Never Trust Anansi chosen by the audience in 2011 as their favourite translation and a lyrical poem taking the prize in 2012.
The children at Jessop Primary School were very excited that Translation Nation had given them a platform to speak their languages at school. Many were surprised and pleased to find out that their classmates were also interested in their languages and they felt proud of their abilities. One student said, ’Translation Nation has helped me to be free about my other languages’.