translator: thierry lawson
Pupils at Redden Court School in Havering took on the Translation Nation challenge in summer 2013.
French translator Thierry Lawson visited language classes in Years 8 and 9 to ignite their interest in language learning and enable them to see that they are capable translators. Thierry’s top-tip that the majority of words ending in ‘tion’ are the same in English and in French put students at ease and they began to see connections between other English and French words and expressions.
Students were surprised to learn about the many celebrities who speak more than one language and to realise, as one student remarked, that “you can use languages in all sorts of jobs and in many different places”. The groups did a fantastic job creating their own subtitles for film clips from the French film ‘Entre Les Murs’ or ‘The Class’. They got to grips with use of the pre-prepared glossary, and were amazed to find that the translation exercise then called upon creativity to replace dull word for word translation with English slang and cultural references to match the French dialogue spoken by teenagers in a disadvantaged Paris suburb in the film. Students then took on the characters to role-play their translated dialogues.
Students found the workshop an unexpectedly fun and eye opening experience. A final reflection from one member of the group highlighted the impact it had had: “If we take these languages seriously and learn other languages, lots of job opportunities open up and you also have more of a chance to make friends from all over the world”.