We got a letter from Sweden, from Emma Gunnarsson Boiertz, who is teaching languages in the small town of Vetlanda,
in the southern part of the country. Emma organises just the kind of bigger, local translation competition that we like to see, in order to let more pupils have the chance to try their hand at translation. My colleague Anna Holmén and myself particularly like Emma’s comparison between language skills and fitness – you need constant exercise to keep it up. At DG Translation, we are lucky enough to work in a language gym every day, lifting weights in the form of Italian subjunctive, German verbs and English idioms. Now I’d like to meet Emma and her pupils at Njudungsgymnasiet!
November 27th, 2012
When I first heard of the Juvenes Translatores competition back in 2009 I instantly felt that this was something I would like to involve my school in. I got the support I needed from my colleagues and that was where the Juvenes Translatores journey for Njudungsgymnasiet in Vetlanda, Sweden, started. We have taken part in the competition many times since then. We decided from the start that we did not want to limit the number of participating students; all who wanted to take part were welcome to do so. This is the main reason why our school has arranged a local competition in which we provide the prizes for the winners. Our prizes do not measure up to the grand prize in the international competition, but we feel it is important to encourage as many students as possible to let their interest in languages grow. Perhaps some of them will even find a future career that involves this interest? In these hard times of financial difficulty I believe that more and more of our teens find a comfort in knowing that their language skills can be their ticket to a secure future and a steady income. I want them to have this comforting feeling but at the same time I want to make my students realize that language skills are a bit like staying physically fit; you need to practice regularly to stay in shape. Otherwise you might not have what it takes to run fast enough to catch that train, destined for the future of your dreams.
As I sit here watching these wonderfully motivated students struggling with grammar, semantics and many other aspects that need to be considered when working with translation I find myself being envious of them. The Juvenes Translatores competition is something I really would have liked to take part in myself as a student. Perhaps it is not all that surprising then that I became a language teacher? Or is it? With an interest in languages a person has limitless options for his or her future. Do I want to find a profession in the business world, as an interpreter, a writer or perhaps something completely different? I chose, no a correction is needed here! I did not choose at all, it was always clear to everyone in my surroundings that I was going to focus my future career on helping others find the joy of using and developing another language. Even my dear old grandmother knew this when I was barely three years old.
So here I am in a room in a small town in the south of Sweden. Surrounded by young souls with a passion for expressing themselves, and perhaps even more importantly; a desire to create the best possible future for themselves. My question to them is naturally What do you want for your future? And their answers? Well, they vary quite a bit from biologist, lawyer, doctor, engineer and teacher, to photographer or professions dealing with animals or people in different ways or even professions in the creative arts. The future for these teens does not have a fixed destination; they all have open tickets and are running to catch the train that will take them where they want to go.
Emma Gunnarsson Boiertz