21 March 2017

Our Finale Event

A special finale event was designed to conclude the pilot Shadow Heroes series run with great success at University College School (UCS) and City of London, School for Girls (CLSG) with students from City Academy, Hackney, over 2016-17. Held on 21st March 2017 in the Lecture Theatre at UCS, this was an occasion for all the students and teachers to come together, exchange experiences, get involved in some translation-themed fun and recall their achievements over the course of the workshops series.


Drawing on work done over the series, prizes were awarded in the following five categories:

Best subtitle, Best ‘dangerous tweet’, Best ‘dangerous thought bubble’ solution, Best translation from Portuguese & Best slang translation


Two groups, Alexander Boone and Daniel Kohn at UCS and Francesca Fernandes, Salsabil Fatema and Aylin Turan at City Academy were rewarded for their thought bubble solutions. Sasha and Daniel conveyed a real sense of tense negotiation in theirs, while Francesca, Salsabil and Aylin sustained an impressive comic distancing and continuity of character in their thought bubbles.

The best dangerous tweet was written by Freyde Sayers and Annie Gishen (CLSG): highly compressed and witty, it also made judicious use of Twitter-style language.

Tibor Rothschild and Nikolai Maslov (UCS) were joint winners of the best slang translation prize. Tibor made a particularly good fist of unpuzzling and matching some very idiomatic slang usages while Nik chose to work into a very formal register indeed and succeeded magisterially.

William Jenkins (UCS) won best subtitle, the judges noting his impressive control of compression and his introduction of a brand-new equivalent rhyme scheme to match the original.

Claire Zhang and Ailish Coleman (CLSG) received prizes for the best translations from Portuguese, both standing out for the completeness of their versions and smart work with idiomatic usages and cultural context.

The prizes were copies of Is that a fish in your ear? by David Bellos and What language do I dream in? by Elena Lappin, kindly donated by Penguin Books and Virago Books respectively.


Following the distribution of well-deserved prizes, guest speaker Kathleen McCaul was invited to speak about her experience as a journalist working with translators in conflict zones including Kashmir and Iraq. Kathleen spoke vividly about the doors translators opened for her, to interviews with key figures and to lifesaving information, in all kinds of tense moments. She went on to describe the continued importance of translation in her career since, as a journalist and now a novelist and creative writing PhD candidate.


At this point, Shadow Heroes made way for the intervention of a secret agent in high-vis vest. Improv theatre specialists Coney were stepping in to lead a game drawing on all the translation skills students had honed over the workshop series. Teams of students and teachers puzzled over penguins speaking Portuguese, secret assignations at ice cream vans and continent-crisscrossing spy trails to win the ultimate prize of Best Shadow Heroes of the year.

It was a fittingly mind-bending, laterally logical end to a mind-opening series of workshops.

Shadow Heroes would like to thank the following people:

The three schools involved: UCS, CLSG and City Academy;

All the staff who gave their support throughout the series;

UCS for its generous provision of refreshments at the finale;

Our photographers, Carla MacKinnon and Andrew Cryan;

Tassos Stevens of Coney HQ.