Drag to explore
F i n d o u t n o w F i n d o u t n o w F i n d o u t n o w
22nd June 2023

Pupils’ Success in Oxford University Competition

Two Oakham School pupils have achieved success in the Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators, a prestigious national competition run by The Queen’s College, Oxford University.

Form 3 (Year 9) pupils Jessica and Alvina beat 15,000 entrants from schools across the UK to gain first prize and a commendation for their French and Spanish translations respectively in the area judging round. The talented linguists entered the competition after being selected from a competition run internally by Oakham School’s Modern Languages Department. The pupils were given a piece of poetry or prose and could use any resource necessary to translate it as best they could. Jessica translated the poem ’The Lion’s Midday’ from French into English and Alvina chose a prose passage to translate from Spanish into English.

Head of Modern Languages, Ed Milner, said: “I am delighted that two of our pupils have been recognised in this way for their linguist skills. Jessica and Alvina have done exceptionally well to get this far in the competition.

“This is a very difficult linguistic challenge which falls way outside what would normally be expected of school linguists.

“It is so refreshing to offer this kind of fun yet demanding creative challenge, beyond the confines of exam specifications.

In the age of AI, translation is a skill that computers cannot do well. Poetry requires a sense of style, symbolism and rhyme that a computer cannot emulate.”

Jack Franco, Programme Coordinator of The Queen’s College Translation Exchange, said: “This is a fantastic achievement given the number and standard of entries received this year. A team of undergraduates and professional translators have judged entries to the competition and all commented on the excellent standard of entries this year.”

As the winner of the area judging round, Jessica will now be put through to the UK-wide competition. We look forward to hearing how she gets on in the next stage of the competition.

In the 2022 Anthea Bell translation competition, two pupils were successful, one of whom, Form 7 (Year 13) pupil Hattie, has since gained a place at Oxford University to read French and Arabic.

Share this article