Shadow Heroes is a series of creative workshops for secondary school students with three main aims:

  • To use translation to inspire passion and interest in learning languages

  • To demonstrate the different career paths of a translator, and also the ways in which translation skills can be applied to non-language careers

  • To use translation as more of a political tool to teach cultural understanding, nuance and critical thinking

Led by professional translators, our workshops are extra-curricular modules aimed at GCSE-level students of all languages including English.

A complement to the latest GCSE and iGCSE syllabuses, Shadow Heroes workshops are tailor-made to the specifications of each school and student group. The workshops are non-language specific; they focus on building broad linguistic awareness and on translation into English. Each series is adapted to the particular mix of language knowledge and interests in the group. The workshops draw on the range of languages students can work with, allowing them to take ownership of their particular language skills in a multilingual group setting.

Schools are invited to choose from a selection of 14 prepared workshops and develop their own series in collaboration with Shadow Heroes. These are organised into 3 branches/strands:
 

  • Translation skills
    A foundation in key translation concepts such as tone and register, and practical approaches to translation. Students will draw on their existing language skills to translate texts from Portuguese, Korean or Arabic with no previous knowledge of the language. 

  • Translation masterclasses
    Masterclasses in professional fields of translation including subtitling and interpreting with a professional subtitler and a UN interpreter, a 2-part intensive training in literary translation and a masterclass in translating poetry.

  • Critical thinking in translation
    How do we convey concepts of gender and sexuality in translation? What is the effect of the background, politics and worldview of the translator on their translation? How can we use supplementary sources such as letters, biographies and manuscripts to better understand the decisions a translator makes? How can we translate ideas deeply rooted in a specific culture? Is it possible to translate classical texts for a contemporary audience?
     

Shadow Heroes workshops can boost shy students' linguistic confidence or stretch talented students further. All Shadow Heroes workshops include focus on translation across period and geographical setting as well as between languages, on translation in different media and on ‘hidden’ translation in everyday lives. Throughout, the aim is to help students gain in confidence as natural, yet critical translators. For more information, see Our Workshops.

Shadow Heroes also offers additional presentations about translation and the workshops, such as for assemblies, enrichment sessions and other extra-curricular events including an end-of-series event bringing students from different schools together for a fun translation-themed evening. Please Contact Us for more information.


About the Workshop Leaders

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Sophie Lewis has been translating fiction and other literature from French since graduating from Oxford University in 2004. Following a move to Rio de Janeiro, from 2011 to 2015, she now also translates from Portuguese. Her translations include works by Stendhal, Jules Verne, Marcel Aymé, Violette Leduc, Emmanuelle Pagano and João Gilberto Noll. She has pursued a career in publishing alongside translation, most recently spending five years as Senior Editor at And Other Stories publisher. She has also edited translation-rich issues of Litro and Sonofabook magazines. In 2017 her translation of Héloïse is Bald by Emilie de Turckheim received a Scott Moncrieff Prize commendation and her most recent translation, the novel Blue Self-Portrait by Noémi Lefebvre, will be published in June.

 

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Portraits by Anna Michell

Gitanjali Patel graduated from Oxford University in Spanish and Portuguese and has been translating from these languages since 2010. She has worked as a translator and editor for UNICEF in Rio de Janeiro, interpreted for the Rio Film Festival and has used translation for various research projects including one on the language of Rio de Janeiro's favelas. She translates in a range of media, from film scripts and radio programmes to fiction, including stories by Luisa Geisler published in Litro magazine, Miriam Mambrini, Fernanda Torres and a novel by Gisele Joras. Alongside her translations she is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Social Anthropology at SOAS, University of London.


Schools We Work With

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE SCHOOL

University College School (UCS) is an independent school in Hampstead, London. The Senior School educates boys from ages 11-18 and girls from 16-18. The Modern Languages Department offers four languages within the GCSE curriculum: French, German, Mandarin and Spanish. In addition, there are language clubs for Arabic, Italian and linguistics.

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CITY OF LONDON SCHOOL FOR GIRLS

City of London School for Girls (CLSG) is a non-denominational, independent day school, for girls aged 7 to 18, based in the London Square Mile. In Year 10 and Year 11 most girls take 10 GCSEs, studying at least one modern foreign language and one humanities subject. The languages on offer are French, German, Spanish and Mandarin.

CLSG is partnered with City Academy school in Hackney. Students from City Academy are joining CLSG students for the 2016/17 Shadow Heroes series.

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THE CITY ACADEMY, HACKNEY

The City Academy Hackney is a mixed secondary school and sixth form in north east London jointly sponsored by KPMG and the City of London Corporation. All students study either French or Spanish up to GCSE. The Academy boasts a wonderfully diverse student body, many of whom achieve a second language GCSE qualification in their home language, such as Turkish, Polish, Bengali, Arabic, Portuguese, German, Mandarin or Italian.

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DULWICH COLLEGE

Dulwich College is an academically selective independent boys’ school in south London. It is preparing for its 400th anniversary in 2019. The College has a long-standing reputation for producing some of the finest actors, musicians, sportsmen and writers in the country.

The College offers five languages within the timetable: French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Mandarin. Some boys take additional languages off-timetable, including Russian, Polish, Portuguese and Japanese.


Our Guest Collaborators

Jaciara Topley Lira’s working languages are Portuguese, French and Spanish into English and English into Portuguese. While in Brazil, she worked with clients ranging from the market research sector to the United Nations. In 2012 she returned to Europe and began working as a UN accredited  interpreter. Her clients include UN agencies (WTO, WHO, ILO, WIPO, UNHCR, IOM) and the Portuguese-speaking missions to the UN. She also works regularly on the private market, with most experience in the financial sector.

Clémence Sebag is a translator and proofreader. She has an MA in Audiovisual Translation and has been working as a subtitler for a decade. She teaches audiovisual translation (intralingual and interlingual subtitling, voice-over, dubbing and screenplay translation) at City University, and has taught audiovisual translation and localisation at Imperial College and London Metropolitan universities. Her translations include fiction and articles on EU affairs. She is bilingual and translates both ways between French and English, and also from Spanish.

 

Kathleen McCaul Moura is a novelist and journalist who writes regularly for Al Jazeera English and the London Review of Books.

She began her career in Baghdad, where she helped set up the country's first post invasion newspaper, The Baghdad Bulletin. She has worked for the BBC and Al Jazeera English in London, Delhi, Mumbai, Kashmir and Doha. 

She is currently working on a novel set in the Brazilian megacity São Paulo.

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Sam Alexander is an actor and translator.

His work in the theatre includes several seasons at the Royal Shakespeare Company and One Man Two Guvnors in the West End. He recently played Alan Bennett in The Lady In The Van at the Theatre Royal Bath.

He translates fiction and non-fiction from French to English. Titles include Diary of a Vampire In Pyjamas by Mathias Malzieu and the children’s picture-book series Ernest and Celestine by Gabrielle Vincent.

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Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp is a literary translator from Arabic, German and Russian into English.

She studied German and Russian at Oxford University, trained as an interpreter and translator at Bath University, and started learning Arabic in 2004 when already working as a professional translator.

She has a Postgraduate Diploma in Translation for all her languages. Ruth has translated novels by Fadi Zaghmout, Hanna Winter and Kathrin Rohmann, and non-fiction books on the Syrian civil war, child psychology, linguistics, art history, literary criticism and gardening.

Ruth is the Arabic tutor on the literary translation summer school at City, University of London, and she has also taught beginners’, GCSE and A level Arabic and Russian at several UK schools since 2007.


Our Board of Advisors

Elena Lappin, writer and editor, is the author of What Language Do I Dream In?

Elena Lappin, writer and editor, is the author of What Language Do I Dream In?

David Bellos, translator, professor of comparative literature at Princeton University, author of Is that a Fish in your Ear? and The Novel of the Century.

David Bellos, translator, professor of comparative literature at Princeton University, author of Is that a Fish in your Ear? and The Novel of the Century.

Anthony Rudolf, writer, translator of Yves Bonnefoy, founder of Menard Press and publisher of Octavio Paz among others.

Anthony Rudolf, writer, translator of Yves Bonnefoy, founder of Menard Press and publisher of Octavio Paz among others.

Daniel Hahn, award-winning translator, writer and editor, with some fifty books to his name. Photo © John Lawrence

Daniel Hahn, award-winning translator, writer and editor, with some fifty books to his name.

Photo © John Lawrence


Our Partners

Multilingual Creativity Hub. The ideas and opportunities hub for practitioners promoting multilingual creativity.

Multilingual Creativity Hub.

The ideas and opportunities hub for practitioners promoting multilingual creativity.

Translators in Schools A professional development programme to widen the pool of translators and teachers with the skills to run creative translation workshops in schools.

Translators in Schools

A professional development programme to widen the pool of translators and teachers with the skills to run creative translation workshops in schools.

Coney Interactive theatre-makers who create games, adventures and play. Coney works anywhere that people gather: in theatres, schools, museums, on the streets and online, and always follows the principles of adventure, curiosity and loveliness. Coney makes play with ideas that resonate in the world around us. Collaboration and dialogue are at the heart of how we make work: with audiences, peers, partners, and a network of makers.

Coney

Interactive theatre-makers who create games, adventures and play. Coney works anywhere that people gather: in theatres, schools, museums, on the streets and online, and always follows the principles of adventure, curiosity and loveliness.

Coney makes play with ideas that resonate in the world around us. Collaboration and dialogue are at the heart of how we make work: with audiences, peers, partners, and a network of makers.