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June 14th, 2013

One of the most popular Facebook posts of all times on our Juvenes Translatores Facebook page was the so-called Anglo-EU translation guide, with explanations of what English native speakers actually mean when they say things like “Quite good” (A bit disappointing), or “With the greatest respect” (You’re an idiot).

The clashes between British English and the rather specific variety of English used within the EU institutions have now been further explored by Jeremy Gardner, a senior translator at the European Court of Auditors. He has written “A brief list of misused English terms in EU publications”. From this list you learn that the correct term is “outsource” and not “externalise”, that “training” is a process and not a countable noun (that would be “course”) and that administration cannot be described as “heavy” (unless you have a very big heap of paper with administrative content perhaps).

So why do we EU-officials misuse English in this way? Well, when the EU went from 12 countries to 27 over a ten-year-period, it also moved from French as main language within the institutions to English. However, some souvenirs from the old Francophone days have remained, which creates a feeling of “mi-figue, mi-raisin” as the French would put it.

The booklet can be down-loaded here.

Anna Holmén

Wikipedia and language teaching

May 30th, 2013

I guess all of you know Wikipedia, don’t you?  Maybe you use it in your daily work for fact-finding, or you fight the abusive use of it by your students, or perhaps both… In any case, it’s an interesting crowd-sourced encyclopaedia, which has changed our relation to knowledge. But what about using Wikipedia as a tool for learning and teaching?

Working on Wikipedia with pupils can be a very interesting exercise. First of all, Wikipedia as all Wikis is quite easy to use once you have registered as a user. Then, editing is a team work (for pupils and teachers if you decide to set up an interdisciplinary project), where different skills are promoted, and not just linguistic ones. It’s about learning by doing, and pupils contribute to something really concrete that goes beyond the limits of the class. Therefore it is also about empowering your students and giving young contributors a strong sense that their knowledge (in particular their language skills) matters and that they are a part of a wider community. By editing Wikipedia, students learn how information is jointly crafted and why knowledge management is a continuous process which requires constant updates just as preparing lessons. From a more linguistic point of view, the different language versions show concrete cases of translations, are easy to compare and can be discussed in the “revision history” of each article.

As some of you already know, there is a set of articles in Wikipedia about Juvenes Translatores. I originally wrote the French one 2 years ago and a few colleagues kindly helped with the translations in a few more languages, adding their own touch. JT participants and teachers also gave us a hand. Since then, I have a look at them from time to time. The articles are living their own life now, and everyone is perfectly free to contribute to and amend them, which is the beauty (and sometimes the curse) of Wikipedia.  Until now there have been articles in French, English, Swedish, Slovene, Dutch, Maltese and German. All these articles can be updated, and other linguistic versions can be edited. So why not do a project with your students to update or create new articles, by translating and/or writing updates in their mother tongue or in their foreign language? Take your pick.

If I managed to convince you, don’t hesitate to discuss this matter under the thread on the JT blog, to ask for information and share your experience with us and colleagues from other countries.

Bon travail !


8 out of 10 say EU projects aid innovation in classroom

May 7th, 2013

Have a look at this European Commission press release. You can choose your language version. It tells you that EU projects aid innovation in classrooms: ” More than eight in ten people involved in an EU-funded initiative aimed at encouraging innovative teaching methods and improved learning materials for children say the scheme had a positive and lasting impact on them. The same proportion also stated that it would have been impossible to achieve the same results without European support, according to a new study.”

As our Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou puts it: “the added value of this European initiative is that it exposes teachers and schools to different approaches and expertise, which results in more innovative solutions in the classroom.” In other words, these projects give to people involved, teachers and students, the opportunity to meet, compare their methods, share their experience, and create synergies. Enriched from their experience, they will look with fresh eyes at what they do, and will bring in new ideas in order to innovate in their teaching or studying.

Isn’t it what is happening with Juvenes Translatores? We definitely hope so! Tell us what you think.


Translation and language learning

April 3rd, 2013

This interesting article published yesterday in The Guardian deserves to be promoted and commented upon. You will indeed find some interesting arguments in favour of the use of translation in language teaching, which is what we also try to promote with Juvenes translatores.

Translation is a “mediation” between different languages. It helps the comparisons between languages, suggests the etymology of words, and reveals the structure of languages as well as the cultural differences. It also deepens the command of the mother tongue which is crucial for language learning, since this begins with the learning of one’s own language.

Unfortunately, translation still suffers from being seen as old-fashioned, and some teachers hesitate to use the mother tongue in the foreign language classroom. This is a tricky issue, and there are good arguments for and against. But the truth is that students are facing translation everywhere outside the schools and they will be confronted to it during their studies and their professional lives. The question remains: when the skill of translation is being promoted during school time,? Would it be possible to find a way to re-examine its interest and use? Wouldn’t it also be a good opportunity for facilitating interdisciplinary work and team teaching, bringing together the different language teachers for a better language learning experience?

What do you think? Share your experience with us!


Feedback from JT markers: translations from FR, IT and EN into MT

March 21st, 2013


Illum nagħtu ħarsa lejn il-kummenti li rċevejna mingħand il-kollegi tagħna tad-dipartiment Malti, bl-aqwa soluzzjonijiet u l-iktar għeltijiet komuni fit-traduzzjonijiet li saru mill-Franċiż, mit-Taljan, u mill-Ingliż lejn il-Malti. Il-qari t-tajjeb!

(Is-siltiet għat-traduzzjoni u t-traduzzjonijiet rebbieħa tal-2012 jinsabu hawnhekk)


Today we cover the  feedback we have received  from our colleagues of the Maltese department.  It covers the best solutions and common mistakes in the translations from French, Italian and English into Maltese. Enjoy the reading!

(2012 texts for translation and winning translations  here).

Read the full entry

Feedback from JT markers: translations from EN into NL

March 15th, 2013


Hier is nog meer feedback over de JT vertalingen; dit keer van onze collega’s in de Nederlandse taalafdeling. Zie hieronder voor de beste oplossingen en veel gemaakte fouten in de vertalingen EN-NL. Veel plezier!

(Klik hier voor de te vertalen teksten en de winnende vertalingen voor 2012)


New  feedback from JT markers: today, the one we received from our colleagues  of the Dutch department. So here we go for the best solutions and common mistakes in the translations from EN into NL. Enjoy the reading.

(2012 texts for translation and winning translations  here).

Read the full entry

Feedback from JT markers: translations from EN into LT

March 11th, 2013


Smalsu, kokias klaidas darė konkurse dalyvavę moksleiviai? Šiandien jų vertimus iš anglų į lietuvių kalbą taisę Europos Komisijoje dirbantys lietuviai vertėjai ne tik nurodo dažniausias klaidas, bet ir atkreipia dėmesį į vykusius vertimo sprendimus. Tikimės, tai bus jums naudinga.

(Čia rasite 2012-ųjų metų konkurso tekstus bei geriausius jų vertimus).


Today we cover the  feedback we have received  from our colleagues of the Lithuanian department.  It covers the best solutions and common mistakes in the translations from English into Lithuanian. Enjoy the reading.

(2012 texts for translation and winning translations  here).


Read the full entry

Commentaires des correcteurs de JT : traductions de EN, RO, et ES vers FR

March 1st, 2013

Voici une nouvelle livraison de commentaires des nos collègues de la direction générale de la traduction de la Commission européenne qui ont corrigé les copies des jeunes traducteurs ayant traduit vers le français. C’est un peu long mais vous trouverez ci-dessous les trouvailles et erreurs récurrentes épinglées dans les textes traduits depuis l’anglais, le roumain et l’espagnol.

Bonnne lecture, et bon weekend à tous.

(les textes à traduire de l’édtion 2012 et les traductions gagnantes sont consultables ici).



Trouvailles et erreurs classiques dans les traductions du texte EN:

les efforts pour traduire le titre au lieu de se contenter de la traduction littérale :

ex: “Du savoir à partager”, “Apprendre tout en partageant”….

La traduction de certains passages qui ont posé problème à la majorité des candidats:

“We’ve each been assigned tutees”:

“On en a tous pris un sous notre aile”; “on nous a attribué à chacun des retraités à prendre sous notre aile”, “Nous avons donc chacun quelques retraités sous notre tutelle”…

Beaucoup ont confondu “tutelle” et “tuteur” et la construction de la phrase les a gênés

Autre expression qui a troublé la majorité des candidats mais que certains ont bien rendue.

“You get a kick out of helping them…”:

“On prend son pied en les aidant à….”, “les aider…est vraiment excitant…” “On prend un réel plaisir”…

L’espression “left behind” dans “they’ll just be left behind”:

“Ils ont l’impression qui’ls se doivent d’apprendre à utiliser la nouvelle technologie sous peine d’être mis de côté”

Read the full entry

Feedback from JT markers: translations from PL into DE and ES into DE

February 27th, 2013

Today the last bit of feedback from our colleagues in the German language departement. This post covers the best solutions and common mistakes in the translations from Polish and Spanish  into German.

(2012 texts for translation and winning translations  here).



Gute Lösungen:

Wyjaśniłam, że w projekcie chodzi o współne wyszukanie w archiwach naszych seniorów starych zdjęć, ich digitalizacjć oraz opatrzenie ich komentarzem. Ich erklärte, dass es bei diesem Projekt darum geht/gehe, gemeinsam die Fotoarchive der Senioren durchzusuchen, die Fotos dann zu digitalisieren und mit einem Kommentar zu versehen. (besser als das Durchsuchen, das Digitalisieren, das Versehen – verbal anstatt nominal)
Co dwie glowy to nie jedna (Überschrift) Gemeinsam sind wir stark
rozszyfrować działanie mojego aparatu die Funktionsweise meiner Kamera zu entschlüsseln/ergründen

Häufige Fehler:

to, że (Beispiel: … była to, że porzuciliśmy nasze stereotypy) das, dass (Beispiel: war das, dass wir unsere Stereotypen/Vorurteile abgelegt haben)


Cosas de tu abuela :

Häufiger Fehler: wörtliche Übersetzung wie Sache deiner Oma, Omasache ..

Gute Lösungen: typisch deine Oma, so ist sie eben, deine Oma, so ist deine Oma nunmal


Häufiger Fehler: Erwachsene

Güte Lösungen: Senioren, Ältere, ältere Menschen

Compañera (gemeint ist hier eine andere Kursteilnehmerin)

Häufige Fehler: Freundin, Bekannte, Kameradin, Genossin

Gute Lösungen: Mitstreiterin

Creo que acabaré aficionándome al ordenador

Hier wurde häufig die Konstruktion mit acabaré de nicht richtig wiedergegeben bzw. das Futur nicht erkannt, gemeint ist ich werde letztlich …Auch das Verb aficionarse wurde fast immer falsch übersetzt im Sinne von sich gewöhnen an¸ es bedeutet aber sich erwärmen, sich begeistern …

las cartas de toda la vida

Häufige Fehler: die Briefe des ganzen Lebens, aus dem ganzen Leben

Gute Lösungen: die richtigen Briefe von früher; die alten handgeschriebenen Briefe

A tu abuelo le encantaba escribir

Gute Lösung: dein Großvater hat wahnsinnig gern geschrieben

Cuando eramos novios

Häufige Fehler: als wir zusammen waren, als wir ein Paar waren

Gute Lösungen: als wir noch nicht verheiratet waren, als wir verlobt waren, als wir ein

Feedback from JT markers: translations from IT into DE

February 22nd, 2013

Last post of the week, a rather long one about the  feedback received from our colleagues who marked the  Juvenes Translatores translations from Italian into German.

Buona lettura e buon week-end a tutti!


(2012 texts for translation and winning translations  here).

Read the full entry

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