Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators 2024

Posted by Sitara Bartle on 05 Jul 2024

Modified by Sitara Bartle on 05 Jul 2024

Congratulations to all pupils who entered the Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators 2024.
This prestigious competition, organised by Queen’s College, University of Oxford, spans four levels across five languages, covering all secondary school year groups from ages 11 to 18. This year, over 16,000 students participated, with more than 3,600 entries being judged. We are proud to announce the achievements of our pupils in Chinese:

Year 12 pupil Carl: National Runner-up at Level 4 (the highest level)

Year 10 pupil Louka: Commendation at Level 3

Year 9 pupil Gordon: North West Winner at Level 2


National Runner-up and year 12 pupil Carl said: “As a part of this year’s Anthea Bell prize for young translators I entered a translation of a Chinese text. The goal of translation is not simply to convey the meaning of the text but also to effectively convey the feeling and tone of the text – this is a much more challenging endeavour than it may seem. In many cases I had to ruminate on my word-choices for a few days before making a final choice as finding an appropriate English phrase to match the Chinese is often more a test of one’s English knowledge than of one’s Chinese.

“The actual text I translated was the opening of a novel. This meant that aside from translating the text I had to deal with the challenge of re-capturing the foreboding feeling of the text. For example, the penultimate sentence of the text could have been translated as ‘she felt, in her bones, that something was about to break through the ground’; while this would have been a perfectly appropriate literal translation of the text, I felt that it not only did not sound particularly elegant in the English but that it also failed to capture the feeling that existed in the Chinese and therefore I chose to translate it more idiomatically: ‘She felt that some powerful force was about to bubble over’.

Carl concluded by saying: “After I submitted my translation I was delighted to hear that not only had I been selected as the North-West winner but that I would be taken through to the final round of judging where I placed as the national runner up. I felt that the experience of translating a Chinese text into English and then going to place highly was a great test of both my linguistic ability but also by skills as an English-language writer as understanding is only ever half the battle in translation and the rest comes down to one’s creativity as a writer”.

Well done to all for their exceptional performances!


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