Sunday, 3 May 2020

Translation for all!-Linguacope Webminar, Thursday 16 April 2020

I had a great time doing this Zoom seminar for on Thursday 16 April. Thanks for having me!

We had attendees from Austria, Canada, Czechia, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, the UK, and the US.

As highlighted in the title, the session was on one of my favourite language activity, translation.

Are translation exam questions ‘real’ translation tasks? What about online translators? Can translation activities be used to motivate pupils?

Yes! I believe Translation can be used effectively and creatively in and out of the classroom to get pupils to understand idioms better and the culture from Target Language countries.
Amongst other things, the session presented a wide range of translation activities to develop pupils’ knowledge of syntax, the complexity and accuracy of their sentence-building as well as their cultural awareness. (KS2 to KS5)

Friday, 22 December 2017

Teach Languages Conference, 10 February 2018

Teach Languages 2018
Teach Languages is a conference and exhibition for language teachers organised by Linguascope. The 2018 edition will take place on Saturday 10th February 2018.

The focus for the 2018 edition will be the teaching of grammar. Speakers include Sue CaveJuliet ParkIsabelle Jones and Judith Rifeser. To view a printable version of the full programme, click here.

Teach Languages is taking place at the Rich Mix Cultural Foundation in East London. Rich Mix is conveniently located just outside Shoreditch High Street station (Overground) and within walking distance of Liverpool Street station. There is also plenty of free parking spaces around the venue at the weekend. To help you find your way, we’ve produced a printable map for you to download. For travel details, check out the Rich Mix website

A day pass gives you access to any sessions and the exhibition area for the whole day. It also includes your delegate pack, refreshments and lunch.
The cost of a day pass is:
• £60 (£50 + VAT)
• £48 (£40 + VAT) if booked and paid online
• FREE* for Linguascope subscribers
*You will find your redemption code in the Staffroom section of the Linguascope website, under "Training Events"). Note that free tickets are subject to a £10 deposit (fully refundable if you attend on the day) to ensure that no place is wasted.

Creative Grammar: Developing Language Learner's independence • Isabelle Jones
With the new GCSE in sight and the need to produce writing in exam conditions, teaching and learning grammar has never been so important. This session will aim to introduce delegates to a range of strategies to develop the learning of grammar creatively from key stage 2 in order to produce independent and successful language learners ready for GCSE and beyond.

Grammar Moves • Sue Cave
Activities for developing grammatical understanding will be demonstrated. They have been tried and tested in Key Stage 2, however, they could equally be suitable for other age groups. Each activity will relate to the KS2 targets of the MFL Programme of Study. The emphasis will be on progression from word to sentence level both orally and written. Most of the activities include either movement or a kinaesthetic element and are designed to engage learners actively and creatively. All the examples will be in French but can be adapted for most languages.

The Final Countdown: Revision Revisited • Juliet Park
This session will focus on the lead up to the new exam, how we can help our students prepare for the new exam-style questions and be ready to apply grammar and vocabulary independently and spontaneously. This session will show effective ways to build exam-style practise into your lessons and ensure that students are getting sufficient exposure and practise both in the classroom and independently to help maximise their performance.

Grammar|in|con|text: Teaching grammar through film and other authentic resources in the TL • Judith Rifeser
The teaching of grammar, the use of cultural resources as well as the teaching in the target language are all key elements of the MFL agenda. But how can we make our teaching ARPS: authentic, relevant, purposeful and stimulating, whilst still ensuring students are getting to grips with complex grammatical structures and rules? In this session, we’ll explore examples of good practice, in particular through film, to teach grammar in context, focussing on developing their grammatical awareness and explicit grammar knowledge in the target language, whilst still allowing students to improve all their skills and learn grammar in a fun and motivating way.

More Information and online booking:  See you there!

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Parallel Reading with the Parallel Books app-A Way into Literature and Translation?

Matt Thomas contacted me a while ago to trial his Parallel Books app. The principle is simple, you get a text that is in the public domain, you get a good translation and you use the app the read both texts side-by-side.
Easy? Well... Thank you to Matt for telling us about the story behind the development of this great app that is just fantastic to get our higher ability pupils to dare reading in a foreign language just as literature and translation have re-appeared in the new GCSE specifications. The books are well known classics so although the texts are complex, it gives pupils a sense of confidence as it is known territory.

"I started making Parallel Books a couple of years ago, although it was only released in December last year. I've done it at the same time as been the main care giver for 2 toddlers, so it's been lots of nights programming from their bedtimes till midnight!

You were asking about the reason I started. I was wanting to challenge myself to make a high quality app, so I was looking for ideas.

I spent my whole adult life as a professional musician with a popular band in NZ. When touring Europe one time, I met my wife, who was the singer in another band on the same circuit.

We both ended up leaving our bands and working together playing music. I moved to Switzerland, and found that I needed to learn some new languages!

I have a number of English speaking friends here, and one day one of them told me how he was reading Roger Federer's biography, and that he had bought it in both English and German to read at the same time.

That's when the lightbulb went off in my head, that I could make an app that makes this process easier. It's a great method to practice a new language, but keeping the two books in sync is a bit of a pain, and I realised that I could make this part of it easier within an app.

It turns out that it is actually quite complicated to program this, and there is a lot going on behind the scene to make it appear so simple and user friendly on the surface.

Currently all books in Parallel Books are free. This means that I can only use either texts that are public domain (copyright free) or that I acquire permission to use.

If you know of any good Spanish texts I could include, do let me know! Essentially the author AND the translator have to have been dead for 70 years in order for them to be out of copyright.

I'm also interested in finding very beginner level texts I can use, which have also proven allusive."
Anything else you need to know about "Parallel Books"? Oh yes... It is free :)

App store:
Facebook page (includes screen shots and demo video):

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Translation is Back! 20 Ideas for Teaching Translation

Last month, I was delighted to publish a translation resource on the fabulous Teachit site.
The resource is not language-specific and the ideas can be adapted to many languages.
I hope it is of use!

The resource can be downloaded as a free pdf at