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Spanish workshop with Year 6: Izzie Kaufeler

Title: Translating a Spanish picture book
To translate a Spanish picture book for a Key Stage 1 readership
Age group:
Year 6 (age 10–11)
Participants: 27
1 hour 15 minutes

What we did

We began with a quick word game to get the class thinking about adjectives and synonyms and using words from any known foreign languages before dividing into groups for a sequencing activity. The members of each group worked together with sections of the wordless book to guess the plot, then watched a slide show of the whole textless book and had another attempt at predicting the full plot before a native Spanish speaker bravely read the text aloud. In smaller groups, the children were given glossaries and a new segment of the book, this time with text. Each group decoded their Spanish and wrote down a literal translation, which we chain-read to discover the actual storyline. After a spot the difference target audience activity, we brainstormed the needs of our target audience and agreed on our translation approach before polishing up our draft translations, focusing on our target audience, specific translation challenges, and high-quality English. We finished with a whole-class read through to make our final editing decisions and chose the title together. The class were very pleased with their final product and how much they had achieved in a single session using a language new to most of them.

What we got out of it

After some initial shyness, the class were eager to use their existing foreign language skills and enjoyed learning some new words in Spanish. They really engaged with the various activities and soon decided that translation ‘is actually really fun’. Working in groups of different sizes gave the children the opportunity to constructively critique their own and others’ ideas and work together to solve some tricky translation challenges. By combining this English editing with their new-found Spanish and translation skills, the class achieved an excellent translation that both they and their teachers were rightly proud of and keen to share with younger years. The teachers felt the workshop offered a great introduction to translation and tied in well with the school’s ‘language of the month’ initiative. They also really liked the element of valuing and sharing language skills within the workshop and between year groups.