During this workshop we demonstrated that foreign languages are not codes that are entirely closed off until you’re ‘fluent’. In fact, students are pretty good at understanding and translating from Portuguese, though they may not think so. 'It's all Portuguese to us!' is all about giving students confidence to dive into the linguistic unknown and dare to find a way, even without previous knowledge of the language, simply by making the most the clues provided by the context and by the languages they do know.
Part 1 of this workshop drew on a scene from the popular Brazilian telenovela Avenida Brasil to introduce strategies for translating any language one doesn't officially know. Students picked out names of things they recognised; words that were similar to words they knew in English or other languages; question signs; structures that are similar to sentence shapes they knew, etc. The result was a series of nuanced translations from Portuguese that would stand students in excellent stead for the principal activity of this workshop. (See Part 2).