translator: sarah ardizzone
St Dominic’s Primary School in London was the first school in 2011 to experience the Translation Nation project, in partnership with translator and writer Sarah Ardizzone.
To get everyone thinking about literature in translation, Sarah asked the children to tell her about their favourite stories and she showed them all the different covers of the Harry Potter books from around the world. The children were amazed to hear that Harry Potter has been translated into 67 languages and to see that not only the language but the illustrations and visual interpretations of the characters change from country to country.
The three Translation Nation hub teams translated stories from Polish, Portuguese and Tagalog. The English speaking students made excellent contributions to the translation process. Shannon in Year 5 said, ‘Being a Translation Nation ambassador is exciting because you get to help translate someone else’s language. Even if you don’t speak the language you can have imaginative ideas’.
The children produced very inventive performances of their translations to share in a school assembly. Demonstrating their ability to use language in a creative and engaging way, the children incorporated rhyme, poetry and extracts of the original languages into their presentations. The winning story, The Origins of the Pineapple translated from Tagalog, even included a rap as its show stealing finale. The team were extremely proud of their achievement and celebrated with a group hug!
The staff and students at St Dominic’s helped to make the first Translation Nation a great success. The children were excited to be part of a brand new project and to have the opportunity to work with their home languages. The project was engaging for both foreign language and English speakers, encouraging everyone to have a more imaginative approach to writing in English.