Saturday, March 31, 2012

Games Translators Play



Back in November, 2010, there was a post on this blog about Juvenes Translatores, a pan-European translation competition for young people, 17 years old, who are still at secondary school. For more about the make-up of the competition, enter juvenes in the Search box on the right. Now the results of the 2011 edition are out.
"The contest has gained in popularity each year, with entrant numbers last year the highest ever at over 3,000."
So it's very popular and not just for prodigies.
"Many of this year’s winners have a special fondness for languages. The winners from the Netherlands and Luxembourg grew up in bilingual families, and have added more at school."
In this respect, see the remarks two and three posts ago about multilingualism.

The competition is impressive too for its variety.
"Participants had to select one of 23 texts (for each of the EU’s official languages) and translate it into another EU language of their choice. Although many chose English as a source language, the total number of language combinations used was 148 – the highest since the competition was launched in 2007."
"Irish girl Orla Patton, a student at Mainistir Loreto Deilginis school in County Dublin, is the winner of the Irish section of the contest for her work – translating a text from Irish into English."
The competitors in Juvenes Traductores are neither Expert nor Professional Translators, but the competition is judged by professionals from the European Commission, so we can assume that the best of them achieve near-expert standards. In fact, by the nature of the language courses in the schools they attend, they are Advanced Native Translators.
"The competition organisers were at pains to stress that behind every promising student there is a teacher. Success in the competition is not simply a matter of arranging the practical details, they said – the winners’ teachers had clearly also put in some hard yards, inspiring and nurturing such linguistic interest and flair."
At the same time, news comes about another well-established but very different competition, the Jeux de la Traduction / Translation Games. This year, its seventh, it will be held at Sherbrooke, Quebec. It's a team competition; the languages are limited to French and English. And it's for professionals, or aspiring professionals like translation school students. (Significantly, one of its sponsors is the Language Industry Association of Canada.) As such it's of no further interest for this blog, except that, like Juvenes Translatores, it illuminates the ludic aspect of translating: translation as play, without having a communicative purpose. As Werner Leopold, a pioneer of child language studies, discovered long ago with his little Natural Translator daughter, translating can be fun. (For more about Leopold's daughter. enter leopold in the Search box)


References
Alan McDonnell. Europe’s best young translators feted in Brussels: Dublin girl shines in native language skills. The Epoch Times, March 28, 2010. For the article, click here.

7es Jeux de la traduction / 7th Translation Games. Université de Sherbrooke, 2012. Website here.

Image
European Commission

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