French translation competition 2017

Words in an open book. French Translation Competition 2017

We are delighted to announce the first University of Sheffield French Translation Competition for Year 12 and Year 13 students in the UK.

About the competition

The competition is open now and closes on Friday 3 November 2017 at 5pm. Students of French in Years 12 and 13 in the UK are invited to submit their translations of either one of the original short French texts below. Students should submit only one translation.

The prize

The authors of the ten best entries will receive a prize of a £25 book token and an invitation to take part in a special Translation Workshop held at the University of Sheffield, involving French academics, Masters students in Translation Studies and alumni who work in translation-related fields. The Workshop will be held on Wednesday 13 December 2017.

The judges

The translations will be read and judged by a panel of French experts from the School of Languages and Cultures, at the University of Sheffield. A fair copy of the translation of each text, based on the winning entries, will be posted on our website in early December.

The Winners of our French Translation Competition 2017

Congratulations to the 10 winners of our French Translation Competition!

They are:

  • Anna Iasevoli, Beverley High School
  • Josie Archer, The Henrietta Barnet School
  • Sam Carter, Aylesbury Grammar School
  • Ceara Sutton-Jones, Barnard Castle School
  • Lucy Creed, Lancaster Girls' Grammar School
  • Polly Haythornthwaite, Lancaster Girls' Grammar School
  • Fran Aylward, Notre Dame Catholic Sixth-Form College
  • Vinay Jobanputra, Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College
  • Jack Webber, King Ecgbert School
  • Rhys Collins, St Peter's School

We received almost 100 entries for the competition and the overall standard was impressive.

Many thanks to all of you who entered the competition.

We will post fair copies of the translations, based on the best entries, on this site. Unfortunately, we cannot provide feedback on individual entries.

Merci encore une fois et bonne chance pour vos examens !

Dr David McCallam

How to enter

The competition was open to students of French in Years 12 and 13 in the UK. Translations should be the original work of individual students and should be sent as an email attachment to before 5pm on Friday 3 November. Entries should include:

  • Full Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Home Address and Postcode
  • Contact email address
  • School name and address
  • Whether you would be happy to be contacted by the University of Sheffield about other events, such as Open Days, in future (please note that we will normally contact you by email)

Winners will be notified by Friday 17 November.

The texts

The translated texts (below) are only suggested fair copies. A good number of idiomatic variations on parts of the texts were also accepted, but are not shown here. For both texts, translators provided some intelligent and creative recasting of sentences; a few went too far down this route and altered the meaning of the source text. On the whole, the trickiest elements were choice of tense in the first text and appropriate collocations in the second.

Text 1
Véronique Olmi, Bakhita (Albin Michel, 2017)

Quand elle est née, elles étaient deux. Deux petites filles pareilles. Et elle est restée le double de sa jumelle. Sans savoir où elle était, elle vivait avec elle. Elles étaient séparées, mais ensemble, elles grandissaient et vieillissaient éloignées et semblables. La nuit surtout, elle sentait sa présence, elle sentait ce corps manquant près du sien, ce souffle. Leur père était le frère du chef du village, à Olgossa, au Darfour. Le nom de ce village et de cette région, c’est les autres qui le lui ont dit, ceux à qui elle a raconté son histoire, et qui ont fait des recoupements avec les cartes, les dates et les événements. A Olgossa, donc, son père les avait exposées, sa jumelle et elle, à la lune, pour les protéger, et c’est à la lune qu’il a dit pour la première fois leurs prénoms, qui rappelaient pour toujours comment elles étaient venues au monde, et pour toujours le monde se souviendrait d’elles. Elle sait que ça s’est passé comme ça, elle le sait d’une façon infaillible et pour toujours. Quand elle regarde la nuit, souvent elle pense aux deux mains tendues de son père, et elle se demande dans quelle partie de cette immensité son prénom demeure.

(205 words)

Translated Text 1

Véronique Olmi, Bakhita (Albin Michel, 2017)

When she was born, there were two of them. Two identical little girls. She remained her twin's double. Without knowing where her sister was, she lived with her. They were separated but together, they grew up and grew old, apart and alike. Especially at night she would feel her presence, she would feel that absent body close to hers, that breath. Their father was the brother of the village chief at Olgossa in Darfur. It was the others who told her the name of that village and that region, those to whom she told her story, who cross-checked it using maps, dates and events. So in Olgossa her father had exposed both her and her twin to the moon in order to protect them, and it was to the moon that he spoke their names for the first time, names which recalled forever how they had come into the world, and the world would forever remember them. She knows that this is how it happened, she knows it for certain and forever. When she looks at the night sky, she often thinks of her father's outstretched hands, and she wonders in which region of that vastness her name dwells.

Text 2
Amaelle Guiton, «L’idéal du numérique peut devenir une sorte de Léviathan» Libération, 5 avril 2017

La multiplication des cyberattaques interroge la capacité du droit international à encadrer ce type de conflit. A l’heure où les Etats recourent de plus en plus aux attaques informatiques, comment parler de «cyberpaix» ? Le droit international peut-il permettre de réguler un cyberespace de plus en plus militarisé ?

Quand les conséquences des cyberattaques sont des défis à la sécurité nationale ou des atteintes graves à la souveraineté, on est fondé à réfléchir au mode de riposte à une agression. Mais il y a aussi, sur d’autres aspects, de la place pour un droit constructif. Il s’agit de rationaliser le comportement des acteurs, étatiques et non étatiques, et de montrer qu’il y a un intérêt collectif à préserver le caractère pacifique du Net.

Les armes informatiques sont très légères, pas à la portée de n’importe qui mais presque, et extrêmement proliférantes, parce que c’est du logiciel. Il est très difficile d’en contrôler la production, l’achat, la réutilisation. C’est même pire que cela : recevoir un missile ne donne pas la capacité de fabriquer un missile identique pour le renvoyer sur l’agresseur, alors qu’en matière cyber, c’est quasiment le cas. Il faut repenser complètement les choses.

(195 words)

Translated Text 2

The increasing number of cyber attacks calls into question the ability of international law to contain this type of conflict. At a time when nation-states are resorting more and more to IT attacks, how can we talk about 'cyber peace'? Can international law ensure the regulation of an ever more militarized cyberspace?

When cyber attacks result in threats to national security or serious violations of national sovereignty, we are justified in considering how best to respond to an act of aggression. Yet in other respects, there is also a place for constructive legislation. It is a question of making both state and non-state actors see reason, and showing that there is a collective interest in preserving peace on the Internet.

Technological weaponry is very light, almost but not quite available to everyone, and it can proliferate extremely rapidly because it's just software. It is very difficult to control how it is produced, bought and re-used. Worse still: getting hit by a missile doesn't enable you to make an identical missile to fire back at your attacker, whereas, as far as cyberspace is concerned, this is a distinct possibility. It is time for a complete re-think.

Please note that we will not be able to provide feedback on entries, but thank you, in advance, for your submission.