Our mission at the Translation Exchange is to inspire lifelong engagement in languages and international culture, and in particular to encourage young language-learners to continue with their studies through their schooling and beyond.

We train university students to deliver translation workshops in schools, hold virtual book clubs and in-person translation events for readers of all ages, and run a major national competition for pupils aged 11-18, the Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators.

Now in our fifth year, we are busier than ever and reaching thousands of people every year. Here we share some of our recent highlights.

Residency: The Visible Translator

Polly Barton, award-winning writer and translator from Japanese, began her year with us as Translator-in-Residence with a series of events in Oxford.

  • In September, as part of English PEN’s International Translation Day programme, Polly also took part in a panel alongside Ruth Clarke and Sarah Letza – current Translators-in-Residence at Durham and Aston Universities – to discuss their experiences of the new national residency scheme. 

Polly’s residency is part of her Visiting Fellowship in the Humanities Cultural Programme at TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities). Read more about her Fellowship here.

Creative Translation Workshops

In November, we hosted Slovak writer Daniela Kapitáňová and her translator Julia Sherwood at Queen’s, discussing Kapitáňová’s latest book, Samko Tále’s Cemetery Book, and the challenges of translating humour.

We recruited twenty undergraduates and postgraduates from across the University to take part in our Creative Translation Ambassadors programme. After receiving training from professional literary translators and educators, they are ready to go into local schools to deliver their Creative Translation Workshops later this term.

In partnership with the Stephen Spender Trust and Christ’s Hospital School, we welcomed primary school children to the City of London’s Livery Hall for two creative translation workshops, in Ukrainian and French. We held a further Creative Translation workshop for ‘German Day’ at the City of London School, attended by two partner state schools.

Meanwhile, over 1,200 teachers from right across the UK registered to receive our Creative Translation teaching resources and to enter their pupils into our Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators. Last year over 14,000 young people took part, and we look forward to receiving entries from even more in 2023.

Book Clubs

Our International Book Club for Schools continued to reach and enthuse many young language-learners from across the UK. Over fifty 15-18 year olds joined us to discuss the Mexican magical realist novella Quesadillas (by Juan Pablo Villalobos, translated by Rosalind Harvey). A rich, complex and stimulating evening for all! Next up is a special collaboration with ArabLit, discussing Palestinian short stories by Samira Azzam, Out of Time.

Our Translator-in-Residence, Polly Barton, hosted a sold-out virtual book club with Morgan Giles, the award-winning translator of Yū Miri’s Toyko Ueno Station. This term, our collaboration with ArabLit continues also for our International Book Club (for the general public). Join us as we discuss short stories by Moroccan writer Malika Moustadraf, Something Strange, Like Hunger. Translator Alice Guthrie will take part in a Q&A as part of the event.

Digital Exchanges

We have relaunched our blog on the brand new Queen’s website. Rediscover some of our fascinating blog pieces here: Medieval Violence and Children’s Literature, or W.G. Sebald and the human challenges of translation.

Coming up

Spring and summer promise to be full of creative and collaborative translation, thanks to the QTE team and to our excellent partners and supporters. Sign up to our mailing list to find out about upcoming events and opportunities. We hope to see you soon!