Spanish Translation Competition 2022

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

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This competition is now closed. For any queries, please contact

2022 Winners

Congratulations to the 10 winners of our Spanish Translation Competition! They are (in alphabetical order):

  • Patrick Barlow, Calday Grange Grammar School
  • Marie Cartron, High Storrs School
  • Natalie Cheung, St Peter's School, York
  • Rish Das, The Royal Grammar School, Guildford
  • Marina Dote, Ashton Sixth Form College
  • Harriet Harte, Repton School
  • Lucia Mayorga, Wallington High School for Girls
  • Parus Mehra, The Royal Grammar School, Guildford
  • Eva Murphy, Runshaw College
  • Eloise Partridge, Shenley Brook End School

We received over 150 entries for the competition and very much enjoyed reading them! As ever, the overall standard was impressively high. Many thanks to all of you who entered the competition.

A fair copy of the translation, based largely on the best entries, is available below, followed by a few remarks on the main translation issues that arose in it.

Unfortunately, we cannot provide feedback on individual entries.

Original Text

Lo que sí me parece cambiado respecto a tiempos pasados de los que no siempre hay constancia, es la actitud de las sociedades ante el horror y las vilezas y el asesinato. Paradójicamente, las actuales son, por una parte, más ñoñas y quejicas que nunca y más propensas a dirimir sus problemas siempre a través de la justicia. Cada vez hay más delitos tipificados; es más fácil demandar a alguien por cualquier bagatela; no se admiten los accidentes, sino que se busca al culpable de que un tren descarrile o dos coches choquen o una riada anegue un valle o entre en erupción un volcán. Y, en cambio, cada vez hay más comprensión activa para el que comete atrocidades, quiero decir que es raro que no salga alguien de peso a defenderlo o justificarlo o a minimizar la tropelía. Cuando en tiempo de Franco las bandas de extrema derecha pegaban palizas o mataban a alguien, la reacción de algunos políticos y policías era de benevolente fastidio, "hay que ver cómo se extralimitan estos chicos". La misma actitud adoptan dirigentes del Partido Nacionalista Vasco hacia "sus" propios chicos, desde los más pequeños que queman autobuses con personas dentro hasta los más crecidos que pegan tiros en la nuca o vuelan supermercados. Y no muy distinta ha sido la mirada de algunos políticos y periodistas hacia los creadores y ejecutores del Grupo Antiterrorista de Liberación, gente que al fin y al cabo había cumplido con gran abnegación y riesgo en numerosas ocasiones y a la que parecía injusto meter en la cárcel por un solo fallo comprensible, dada la dureza de su lucha. Como si fuera un mérito a tener en cuenta que no hubieran delinquido siempre.

(285 words)

Javier Marías, Seré amado cuando falte (Salamanca: Espanol Santillana Universidad de Salamanca, 1999)

Translation, by Prof. Philip Deacon

People who are understanding

What does appear to me to have changed with respect to the past, in which there is not always evidence, is the attitude of society to horrific events, despicable actions and murder. Paradoxically, present-day societies are, on the one hand, more given to whine and moan than ever before, and more likely to regularly resolve their problems by recourse to law. More and more crimes are now on the statute book. It is easier to take someone to law for the most trivial thing; accidents don't just happen but someone has to be held responsible for a train derailment or two cars colliding or flood waters submerging a valley or a volcano erupting. And on the other hand there is increased understanding for someone who commits an atrocity; what I mean is that it is standard practice for someone important to come out and defend it, justify it or minimize the offence. During the Franco regime, when extreme right wing groups beat-up or killed someone, the reaction of certain politicians and police was one of comprehending irritation, 'Sometimes these lads take things too far'. The same attitude is adopted by leaders of the Basque Nationalist Party towards 'their' own lads, youngsters who set fire to buses with people inside or grown‑up ones who shoot people in the neck or blow up supermarkets. And the reaction of some politicians and newspaper writers to the founders and hit-men of the Antiterrorist Liberation Group has not been very different, individuals who after all had apparently selflessly and at great personal risk carried out their duty on many occasions and whom it seemed an injustice to gaol for a single mistake which was perfectly understandable given the harshness of the struggle. As if it were a point in their favour that they had not always been criminals.

The prize

The winners received a prize of a £25 Amazon voucher and an invitation to take part in a special Translation Workshop organized by the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Sheffield, involving Spanish academics, Masters students in Translation Studies and alumni who work in translation-related fields. The Workshop was held on Wednesday 7th December 2022.

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. 

About the competition

The competition runs annually and is open to students of Spanish in Years 12 and 13 in the UK. Entrants must translate into English an original Spanish text that has not previously been published in English.  Translations must be the original work of individual students, and submitted via an online entry form.

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