Thread: Promising practices

Translation Nation: how the translation of world stories in primary schools improves levels of creative English in second language and native English speakers alike

Sarah Ardizzone, London, UK

Background In a nation of firmly entrenched monolingualism with a heavy out-of-English translation bias, the Translation Nation project opens doorways to fresh cultural influences, leading school children, teachers and wider communities to a broader understanding of the potential positive impacts of literary translation by encouraging a more plural approach to language and literature and improving appreciation of good-quality written English. In the Translation Nation initiative, freelance translators with many language pairings work in partnership with the Stephen Spender Trust and Eastside Educational Trust to deliver hands-on workshops in literary translation in schools across London and the South-East of England.

Purpose This presentation will provide an overview of how Translation Nation engages second language English- and native English-speaking primary school pupils in the translation of traditional stories from their home languages and cultures for bilingual presentation to their peers and wider communities.

Solutions and recommendations You will be taken through key sections of the workshop that demonstrate effective activities on key elements of the story genre such as: story content and structure, story-telling devices and the quality of lexical choices. The session will close with discussion of the educational impact on individuals, the school and the wider community, along with the wider value of such projects to the translation community and individual translators.


Sarah Ardizzone is an award-winning literary translator from French into English. Trained at the Jacques Lecoq Theatre School in Paris, she has also worked as a festival curator and a journalist reporting on multicultural and multilingual issues. Sarah is a patron of the children's world literature charity Outside In, a former advisory panel member of The British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT) and a mentor for the Translators' Association/BCLT scheme for emerging translators.