“The contest is an excellent way to promote language learning and translation as a possible career. Language skills are a fantastic asset: they broaden the mind and can boost employability, something which is especially important in the current economic environment," said Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.
The contestants translated a one-page text based on their choice of any of the 506 language combinations possible among the EU’s 23 official languages. All 23 were indeed used as source languages. The Maltese winner Janice Valentina Bonnici, translated from English to Maltese. The winners also exhibited a fair share of linguistic diversity, -11 translated from English, 5 from French, 5 from Spanish, 4 from German, 1 from Estonian and 1 from Irish. The texts were marked by the Commission's translators.
The contest, which was first organised in 2007, continues to grow in popularity. Nearly 1 750 schools registered to take part in the 2012-2013 competition – this was reduced to 750 for logistical reasons following a random computer selection. The contest has created its own network, enabling students, teachers and professionals to interact through Facebook, Twitter and a blog.
The translation texts focused on solidarity between generations, the theme of the 2012 European Year, and ranged from stories of the young teaching the old how to use computers to history lessons given by elders to children. The texts were prepared by Commission's translators to ensure the same level of linguistic challenge in all the languages.
Croatian pupils will be able to take part in the 2013-2014 context for the first time after their country joins the EU and Croat becomes its 24th official language.
The ‘Juvenes Translatores’ (Latin for ‘young translators’) contest is organised every year by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Translation. Its aim is to promote language learning in schools and give young people a taste of what it is like to be a translator. It is open to 17-year old sixth-form students pupils (in the case of the 2012-2013 contest for those born in 1995) and takes place at the same time in all selected schools all over Europe. The contest has encouraged some entrants to take up language studies and to become translators.
Contest website: ec.europa.eu/translatores
JT blog for teachers: http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/translatores/
DG Translation: ec.europa.eu/dgs/translation
Androulla Vassiliou's website: ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/vassiliou