Spanish Translation Competition

We were delighted to organise the first University of Sheffield Spanish Translation Competition for Year 12 and Year 13 students in the UK.

Spanish city through a door.
Off

The Winners of our Spanish Translation Competition 2019

Congratulations to the 10 winners of our Spanish Translation Competition!
They are:

  • Isabelle Clark, Hill House School
  • Morgana Teglia, Mossbourne Community Academy
  • Natalia Rowe, Norwich School
  • Amy Smith, Ilkley Grammar School
  • Aimee Hunter, Notre Dame High School
  • Aurora Tuckwell, The Henley College
  • Hannah Dunford, Notre Dame High School
  • Holly Bramhall, Lancaster Girls' Grammar School
  • Luke Warner, Brigshaw High School
  • Zsilvia Rosental, Hills Road Sixth Form College

A fair copy of the translation, based largely on the best entries, is available below. Unfortunately, we cannot provide feedback on individual entries.


About the competition

For the translation competition, students of Spanish in Years 12 and 13 in the UK were invited to submit their translation of the original short Spanish text below. Only one translation per student was permitted.

The prize

The authors of the ten best entries received 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 academics in Spanish, Masters students in Translation Studies and alumni who work in translation-related fields. The Workshop took place on 11 December 2019.

The judges

The translations were read and judged by a panel of Spanish experts from the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Sheffield. The competition was organised by Dr Paul O’Neill with the help of colleagues in Hispanic Studies.

The text

Lola Pons Rodríguez, El árbol de la lengua. This text is adapted from a larger article which appeared in EL PAÍS on 29th January 2019. The author is a lecturer at the University of Seville whose research focus on the History of the Spanish Language.

La lengua es un árbol, y su fruto, la palabra; lo decía con términos parecidos a estos a final de la Edad Media esa historia caballeresca entre real e inventada que es el Victorial. Siglos después, seguimos sin percibir la profundidad intelectual de las raíces de ese árbol y las posibilidades infinitas de los frutos que nos ofrece. Advertiremos su magnitud cuando entendamos que la lengua es la mejor herramienta que el ser humano ha sido capaz de crear y alimentar; apreciaremos su grandeza cuando comprendamos que narrar puede hacernos revivir la cólera de Aquiles y que la seducción perfecta es la que se sostiene sobre las palabras.

Cuando el desarrollo de la expresión oral y escrita sea un compromiso para todos los docentes, impartan la asignatura que impartan. Cuando aceptemos que la lengua que no cambie será la próxima dueña del cementerio; cuando respetemos lo recibido de igual forma que valoramos lo creado novedosamente. Cuando nos demos cuenta de que quien engaña con las palabras va a ser capaz de trampear con las cuentas y las leyes. Cuando dejemos de identificar el cuidado lingüístico con ser políticamente conservador y la creatividad lingüística con ser políticamente progresista. Cuando entendamos que desdoblar el género es una opción personal que no arruina a la lengua y que no desdoblarlo es igualmente una opción personal que no tiene por qué suponer un ataque al feminismo. Cuando comprendamos que las lenguas son patrias que cobijan; cuando la lengua no sea ni la jaula ni el ariete.

Entonces, nuestra cultura lingüística corresponderá a las inmensas capacidades de nuestra lengua. Entonces, y solo entonces, estaremos como hablantes a la altura de ese árbol gigante que nosotros mismos hemos creado.


The translation

Language is a tree whose fruit are words. Such was the understanding of language expressed in that late-medieval tale of chivalry, half real, half fictive, the Victorial. Centuries later, we

have yet to comprehend the deep intellectual roots of that tree and the infinite possibilities its fruits offer. We get a sense of its enormity if we perceive language as the greatest tool human
beings have been able to create and foster. We appreciate its beauty when we remember that storytelling allows us to relive the anger of Achilles and that the most perfect seduction is the
one which relies on words.
 
When the development of oral and written expression is the duty of all teachers, whatever their subject. When we accept that an unchanging language is one headed to the graveyard; when
we respect tradition as much as we value originality. When we realize that whoever fools us with words can just as easily tamper with our bank accounts and laws. When we stop identifying care with language with political conservatism and linguistic creativity with progressive politics. When we understand that splitting gender pronouns is a personal decision that does not ruin the language, and that not to do so is another personal decision, and not necessarily an attack on feminism. When we see that languages are countries that provide shelter, and that language should be neither a prison nor a battering ram.
 
It is then that our linguistic culture will correspond to the immense capacities of our language. Then, and only then, will we speakers be worthy of that giant tree we have created.

View our previous Translation Competitions for French in 2018 & 2017.

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