Evie Cann (Y10) and Lois Tromans (Y13) are Languages Ambassadors at Kings Norton Girls’ School and Sixth Form, Birmingham. At KNGS, Language Ambassadors are partially responsible for running the Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators. This is a real step forward in building a community of linguists in our schools, where young linguists set the example for their peers. Read their blog about running the Anthea Bell Prize in 2024. Congratulations to all students and teachers!

Here at Kings Norton Girls’ School and Sixth Form in Birmingham, we have participated in the Anthea Bell translation prize for the past 3 years, and it has been great to see the participation increase every year. At KNGS, the Anthea Bell translation prize is managed by the language ambassadors’ team. We are a group of students ranging from year 10 to year 13, who have a passion for languages and language learning, and who want to share this love for languages throughout the school.

Our early preparations for the Anthea Bell prize started in September, sorting out the materials ready to be distributed later in the school year. Part of our role also involves spreading awareness of languages-based events, which we do through form notices and word of mouth. Our school offers three languages at KS3 (French, German and Spanish) and all students study at least one language at GCSE so it has meant that we’ve had great levels of participation. We hope to see level of participation increase in the coming years.

We’ve had a wide range of ages participating over the last 3 years, starting from year 7 students, who have only just started their language learning journey, all the way up to students in year 13, who are approaching their A-Level exams. Although students at KNGS can choose from French, Spanish or German in key stages 3 and 4, the range of languages that we have seen participation from has also been varied, with some students taking part in languages such as Mandarin and Italian. It has been great to see the linguistic diversity within the KNGS community.

As language ambassadors, we are also very keen to support any student who wants to participate at any level of the competition, and some of our students have been lucky enough to receive commendations for their work. These include:

2024: Yasmin Ahmed – Commendation in French level 2 (pictured)

2023: Carina Li – Midlands winner in Mandarin level 3

2023: Lois Tromans – Commendation in French level 3

2022: Favour Shaba – Midlands winner in Italian level 2

2022: Shaowen He – Midlands winner in Mandarin level 3

2022: Marianne de Wildt – Commendation in German level 2

Having participated in the Anthea Bell translation competition for the past few years, the initiative that our students have used while tackling tricky texts in language is brilliant to see (especially as some have only been learning a second language for less than a year!). By having the opportunities to translate texts, many KNGS students have been able to improve their translation skills as well as using the extracts to learn more about prose, poetry and culture in other languages.

We are pleased that we have had the opportunity to take part in the Anthea Bell translation prize, and we hope to continue doing so in the future, while also promoting the importance of languages in the modern world. We would encourage any school to take part too!