The Translation Exchange launched this competition for schools in 2020, in partnership with the Stephen Spender Trust. The competition is inspired by the life and work of the great translator Anthea Bell. It aims to promote language learning across the UK and to inspire creativity in the classroom. By providing teachers with the tools they need to bring translation to life, we hope to motivate more pupils to study modern foreign languages throughout their time at school and beyond.
The Prize is free to enter and open to all schools across the UK. The Prize currently offers French (into Welsh and English), Spanish, German, Italian and Mandarin. Winners, runners-up and commendees of the 2022-23 Prize can be found here.
Teachers can register for the prize at any point in the year. The competition will run from February to March in 2024, with teaching resources available all year long. Complete this online form, or click on the button below, to register your interest in the Prize.
Access our public sample resources to see how the Prize works in the classroom by clicking on the button below.
Teachers can register for the prize at any point in the year. The competition will run from February to March in 2024.
The prize is free to enter and is open to all secondary schools across the UK. All schools are invited to participate in the competition in as many languages and levels as they wish. When the competition period launches, the competition texts are published in our Teaching Resources page. You can see how our resources work using our sample resources, available here.
In 2023-2024 the competition runs for several weeks from just before February half-term until the beginning of the Easter holidays (5th February – 28th March). Teachers are asked to submit the top five submissions from their school for each level in each language by the end of this period.
The competition runs across 10 geographical areas of the UK to ensure as much participation as possible from right across the country: East, Greater London, Midlands, Northern Ireland, North East, North West, Scotland, South East, South West, Wales. Our judges select area winners and commendees, from which UK-wide winners are then selected. The competition also runs at all levels from French into Welsh.
We wanted to make sure that this wasn’t a one-off event, but something that could be integrated into the year’s teaching. Before entering the competition, we invite you to prepare your students using our free Teaching Resources. Please see the tab below, ‘Teaching Resources’, for more information.
Once you have registered for the prize, you will receive a link and password to access our free teaching resources.
Teaching packs are available in 5 languages (French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish), in 4 levels designed to cater for all year groups at secondary school from age 11 to 18. You will receive teaching packs which include videos, PowerPoint presentations and worksheets. There are three sets of teaching resources on translating poetry, fiction and non-fiction for each level and language.
The competition also runs at all levels from French into Welsh Bilingual teaching resources (in Welsh and English) are available for pupils studying French at the beginning and end of Key Stage 3, and we plan to add to these bilingual resource packs in coming years. Schools can choose to enter students for translation from French into Welsh, English or both languages.
After you have used the resources, please fill out our feedback form. We always welcome feedback on our resources and any other aspects of the prize. We are particularly keen to hear from state schools about the accessibility of our resources. Please get in touch to let us know your thoughts.
Find winners and commendees of past years’ Prizes, as well as more information on the Prize’s history, here. The Prize would not have been possible without the expert help of professional literary translators and other colleagues who have chosen and developed resources, and judged the finest submissions.
We have had a brilliant time delivering these resources. Year 7 all the way through to Year 13 have engaged brilliantly and students have responded really well to the challenge. The resources were so well thought through, so easy to use and an absolute joy to teach.State Secondary School Teacher of Modern Languages, 2022
The resources were excellent. They were a great complement to my lessons. What is more, I could see the positive impact it has had on two of my students, whose grammar improved during the two terms that they translated the past competition tasks. I will definitely participate next year.State Academy MFL Teacher, 2023
This programme has really helped us to recruit students for A level next year. We had not been able to have the right number of students to run the course for the last two years, so it has been amazing to see how the little club we run for this competition last year has made such a difference in the appreciation of the language from our students.State Academy MFL Teacher, 2023
Anthea Bell OBE (1936–2018)
Anthea Bell OBE (1936–2018) ranked among the leading literary translators of the 20th and 21st centuries. Her work from German, French and Danish into English encompassed the writings of Kafka, Freud, E.T.A. Hoffmann, the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Georges Simenon, W.G. Sebald, René Goscinny, Cornelia Funke and many others.
She won numerous literary awards, some of them several times, and was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2015.
We are delighted to be able to honour Anthea’s great work, and her commitment to encouraging young language-learners and translators, with this prize. The Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators was created by Charlotte Ryland, founding Director of the Queen’s College Translation Exchange. Charlotte had the pleasure of working with Anthea Bell for many years, and is proud to have founded this prize in her honour.
The competition has been established in partnership with the Stephen Spender Trust. It is generously supported by The Queen’s College and St Hugh’s College, Oxford, the Independent Schools’ Modern Languages Association, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in London, the Institut français in London, the Embassy of Switzerland in the UK, the Swire Chinese Language Foundation, the Austrian Cultural Forum London, the Italian Cultural Institute London, the Instituto Cervantes London, the Association for Language Learning and Oxford University Press. Prizes are kindly donated by Penguin Classics, Vintage Books, Oxford University Press and the Goethe-Institut London.
This competition is inspired by the ‘Juvenes Translatores’ competition run by the European Commission, for which UK students are no longer eligible. We are grateful for the advice & support of our colleagues at the former European Commission Representation in the UK, which closed in December 2019.