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The Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators
The Translation Exchange is launching a brand new competition for schools in Autumn Term 2020. 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 to GCSE, A Level and beyond.

Register your interest


Mini Competition - Summer 2020 

We are delighted to announce that we received 295 entries for our inaugural schools competition! All the winners and commendees are listed here.

Well done to everybody for taking part, and thank you to all the teachers who submitted their students' entries! We hope that this has whetted appetites for creative translation, and for our brand new nationwide competition for French, German, Mandarin and Spanish. Read all about it below!

Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators - Launching Autumn 2020

We are now inviting expressions of interest from teachers of French, German, Mandarin and Spanish in Key Stages 3-5. 

All interested teachers will receive a teaching pack for the prize, with ready-made resources designed to be used around European Day of Languages (26 September) and International Translation Day (30 September).

Up to 50 schools will then be invited to take part in this first year of the competition, with two more teaching packs in January and February, and the competition tasks in March. Entrants will translate a passage from one of those languages into English, and will also have the opportunity to submit more 'imaginative' translations – a passage from a novel might be reimagined as a short film or comic strip, for example. 

Bringing more international culture into the classroom is a central aim of the prize, and so all passages – fiction and non-fiction – will be rich in cultural content, and creativity in the translation will be rewarded. 

Information for Teachers

We are now inviting expressions of interest in the competition via this form. All those who complete the form will receive the first set of teaching packs on translating poetry. Following the first lesson teachers will be asked to confirm interest in the competition and further teaching resources. Please note that places in the competition are limited. Entry is free for all. 

All participating teachers will receive teaching packs with videos, PowerPoint presentations and worksheets. The first pack will provide teaching material for European Day of Languages and International Translation Day, both of which fall at the end of September.

Example slides from the first teaching pack, on translating poetry:



Anthea Bell

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 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 Institut français, the Embassy of Switzerland in the UK, the Swire Chinese Language Foundation, the Austrian Cultural Forum London and the Association for Language Learning. Prizes for the summer 2020 mini competition were kindly donated by Penguin Classics 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.