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During the summer of 2020 we launched our first ever virtual translation project. We were delighted to welcome 122 participants who worked together to translate a French comics blog portraying experiences of the coronavirus pandemic. Here you can read the resulting translations.

Virtual Adventures in Collaborative Translation

Fiamma Luzzati's blog depicts the pandemic from multiple perspectives, portraying the experiences and reactions of ordinary people as their lives are suddenly changed. It is deeply moving and thought-provoking, with plenty of humour, and presents a great translation challenge. You can find the original French blog at the webpage of the newspaper Le Monde.

This is the first English translation to be produced of the ten blog entries written and published by Luzzati between March and June 2020, during the first wave of coronavirus in Europe. The collaborative translation was conducted online during the summer of 2020, by email and using virtual conferencing software. In total we were joined by 122 participants, including students from Oxford and other universities, sixth-form students, teachers, lecturers, professional translators, and comics enthusiasts. This was a global project: we were delighted to be joined by participants from Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the United States.

Participants were divided into twenty groups and each group was assigned one of the ten comic blogs. Group leaders took responsibility for ensuring everyone in their group was involved in the translation process, as well as keeping on track for the delivery deadline. In the final weeks, the two groups working on the same comic strip met up to combine their work into one polished translation. You can read more about the various stages of this collaborative translation project, from the perspective of group leaders and participants, including sixth-form and university students, at the Translation Exchange blog page.

At the mid-way point of the project we held a sharing session which was attended by 60 people. During this sharing session group leaders and participants delivered a series of presentations about their experience of the project at this stage of the process and elements of the translation that were of particular interest to them. 

Attendees enjoyed three excellent presentations: group leaders Ami Ganatra and Annabel Vago compared their work on different comic strips; Maria-Minodora Grosu and her group (Amy Tomkins, Anna Monardo, Eva Bailey, and Cristina Onesta) offered a series of different perspectives on the same comic strip; and April Yee discussed 'Shortness of breath and punctuation in translation'. You can watch the sharing session in full on Youtube.





This collaborative translation project was initiated by Prof Seth Whidden, Fellow in French at Queen's, and Dr Charlotte Ryland, Director of the Queen's College Translation Exchange. It was coordinated by Dr Holly Langstaff and Sam Davis.

About the author of L'avventura

Fiamma Luzzati is a freelance comics author. You can follow Fiamma Luzzatti on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin. Her most recent book is La médécin, une infectiologue au temps du coronavirus, available to buy at, a company that pays its taxes and delivers to your home even during lockdown - because books are essential items! 

Luzzati's L'avventura blog will be published in French in March 2021, and is available for pre-order.








This collaborative translation project was generously supported by The Queen's College and the Institut français du Royaume-Uni.