As part of their outreach to secondary schools, for several years the Department of Languages, Information and Communications has organised a Spanish Translation Competition aimed at current A Level students. This year, for the first time a French Translation Competition has also been organised, giving A Level French students the same opportunity to compete nationally.
Candidates received a copy of the original comic strip “Gadgets pour contes de fées”, written by Charles Perrault and illustrated by the renowned French artist Marcel Gotlib. The comic was chosen to celebrate and promote the work of the recently deceased French artist outside of the French-speaking world. French artists have illustrated a number of world-famous comics over the years, such as Asterix and Tintin.
“Gadgets pour contes de fées” is a satire of French fairy-tale stories, exploring how the narratives of these stories would change if the protagonists had access to modern technology. The comic strip also contains cultural references, jokes and puns, which all needed to be translated in a meaningful way into English.
In order to be successful, the candidates had to translate the speech bubbles and text from French into English, demonstrating not only solid French language skills, but also the ability to research the original stories to comprehend the cultural context of the satirical comic. The finished translation had to be grammatically accurate, and yet retain the original style and meaning.
The competition was open to anyone studying French in Sixth Form, with entries accepted from two candidates per school.
Issy Murray and Amy Barrett were shortlisted for Harrogate Grammar School, and Amy has some exciting news to share:
I was really pleased to win the competition. Over the Christmas holidays, Miss Hentschel suggested to my class that we might like to enter a competition held at Manchester Metropolitan University. I decided to take part because I wanted to improve my translation skills, learn some new vocabulary, and learn more about French culture. The comic strip was challenging in places, as it was not possible to translate each word literally. I’d never read a French comic before so I didn’t know what to expect, however I really enjoyed the story and the humorous tone.
Miss Hentschel, Amy’s A Level French teacher at Harrogate Grammar School said:
We’re thrilled Amy won the French Translation Competition. Her success is a real credit to her conscientious attitude and motivation to immerse herself in the culture of the language she is studying. We are very proud of both Amy and Issy’s entries.