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Translating Dialect and Slang: Competition for Schools
Jumbled Scrabble letters
The Translation Exchange has joined with The Queen’s College Library to launch a new translation competition for schools in the North West of England in Summer 2022.

A competition for Years 7–11 in schools in North West England, open until 1 July 2022.

The focus of the translation competition is ‘Translating Dialect and Slang in Poetry’. The competition will coincide with an exhibition on display in the Queen’s library throughout the Summer 2022 term: ‘“Cummerland talk”: The Dialects of Cumbria and Lancashire’. This exhibition celebrates the donation by Dr Douglas Bridgewater of an important collection of books and manuscripts related to Cumberland and Westmorland.

The exhibition speaks of the College’s long-standing interest in language and its connections with the North West of England. These links can be traced back to the College’s very conception, as founder Robert de Eglesfield belonged to a landowning family in Cumberland. As part of the College’s constitution, Eglesfield stressed a preference for training clergyman who were ‘natives of the counties of Cumberland and Westmoreland’. The College’s connection to the North West continues in its Access and Outreach work today.

The translation competition offers students in Years 7–11 the opportunity to translate either one of two poems into any variety of English. The first poem, written in Cumberland dialect, was collected in the early nineteenth century in a book which now forms part of the Bridgewater collection. The second poem is written in French verlan slang.

The aim of the competition is to celebrate varieties within languages, and to encourage students to think about the role played by dialect and/or slang in poetry and the issues this raises for translation. Students can translate either poem into any English; this includes Standard English and any other dialect and/or slang. There will be two entry categories, one for students in Years 7–9 and one for students in Years 10–11. Books will be given as prizes for the winners in each category.

Teachers at schools in the North West will receive a resource pack containing entry information, copies of both poems, glossaries, and teaching resources in week commencing 2 May.

If you or your school is interested in taking part, please email

The closing date for entries is 1 July 2022.