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Foreign languages translation bee

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by minka1, Jun 28, 2017.

  1. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

    Just come across Foreign Languages Translating Bee.
    How many MFL teachers in the UK know about this and is it a good idea?
  2. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    Reading what the page said about a "Translation Bee", I was left wondering what the competition involved in practice. A "Teachers' Pack" apparently explained all, but without a link to follow... I wonder too how independent schools feel about having to cough up £100 to participate while government funding covers maintained schools' costs.

    A web page on the Beverley Grammar School site gives a small clue about what to expect: "A huge well done also to all students who competed in the Beverley Grammar School Foreign Languages Translation Bee in March, overcoming their nerves to correctly translate as many phrases as possible from English into either French or German. All done in one minute in front of a live audience."
  3. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

    I thought everyone would be throwing up their hands at the word 'translation' and the concept of competition.
  4. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    I was brought up on grammar and translation in French and German and when I started teaching in the 1970s, they were still the focus of the foreign language curriculum. I understand that the new MFL syllabuses have restored their importance. What goes around comes around and personally I have no objections because they not only add backbone to foreign language learning but also provide something for students to get their teeth into if they're less keen on speaking the foreign language.

    As for competition, I don't see any harm in it so long as there is no unfairness or triumphalism. I once entered a student from my state secondary school for a regional foreign language poetry reciting competition. She had spent her early childhood in Germany and her pronunciation of German was impeccable. Her written German was less good because she hadn't been through a German phonics course in a Grundschule. Anyway, I found out from the organisers that despite her better performance she had been ranked second because the boy entered by the local independent grammar school was a non-native speaker of German. There was nothing in the competition regulations about native and non-native speaker entries and the judges' verdict left a nasty taste in my mouth, because I got the impression that the independent school had a sense of entitlement and expected to win first prize that year as it had done in all previous years. That was the last year the competition was held. So long as there is a level playing field, however, I remain unopposed to competition.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2017
  5. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

    "Therewas nothing in the competition regulations about native and non-native speaker entries and the judges' verdict left a nasty taste in my mouth, because I got the impression that the independent school had a sense of entitlement and expected to win first prize that year asit had done in all previous years."
    Why tell them she was a native German speaker.
  6. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    I didn't tell them!
  7. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

    That sounds very unfair.
    Here's a link to the one video I can find on YouTube which shows competition .

    Not much on YouTube generally of schoolkids speaking foreign languages.
    Dodros likes this.
  8. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    A great find, Minka. That indeed shows how the competition pans out in practice. I imagine one of the reasons why there aren't many such videos is the issue of safeguarding when it comes to videoing youngsters. Wouldn't parental permission be required too?
  9. Eirianedd

    Eirianedd New commenter

    It looks like a superb idea that, as exemplified by the video, promotes a high degree of accuracy and fluency uncommon in British foreign language classrooms. Why would anyone object to that? There is an interesting book on the subject of translation in teaching by Guy Cook of OUP. We are finally moving back in the right direction.

    Cook, G. 2010. Translation in Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  10. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

    I think it's because the standard of speaking is so low and videos would highlight this. There's videos for everything on YouTube but not much about mfl in the UK.
    I think a national competition like this would raise the profile of mfl in the UK which everybody on here say they want. Plus free entry for state schools whereas independent schools have to pay.
  11. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

    Well what do you know there's a foreign language spelling bee too.
    And a host of videos on youtube for this competition that I've never had come up in previous searches. Impressive work by the kids.
  12. madcatlady

    madcatlady New commenter

    We take part in both translation and spelling bees and they are really good. You get great support materials.
    minka1 likes this.
  13. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

    Imagine if every school in the UK took part. Would that raise the profile of MFL as a subject?
  14. sam enerve

    sam enerve New commenter

    Abeille (noun, feminine) You're welcome.
  15. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

    Google translate is not allowed in competition.
  16. sam enerve

    sam enerve New commenter

    I used Babbel....
  17. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

  18. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    What is great is that our local one also had Latin as part of the languages spelling bee and our Y8 student did really well - I enjoy those types of activities that incorporate Latin as at many schools, we are but a tiny part of an MFL department. :)
  19. acornclayton

    acornclayton New commenter

    We have entered the Foreign Language Spelling Bee for about 8 years and really love it as a motivational way of involving all of Y7 in a fun MFL activity and raising the profile with parents/colleagues. This year we entered all Y8 and Y9 in the Translation Bee, and it was really good. Sadly they lost the original source of funding due to cuts to education, but I am glad it is continuing.
    minka1 likes this.

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