Translation slams at ITI Wessex

Translation slams are a very popular activity at ITI Wessex and we have evolved a procedure for holding them via Zoom, which is detailed below.

We started last October with a FR-EN slam, translating an extract from ‘La Peste’ by Albert Camus. So far this year we have completed another FR-EN slam, translating an extract from ‘Soumission’ by Michel Houellebecq, and an ES-EN slam, translating an extract from ‘El Pais bajo mi Piel’ by Nicaraguan author, Gioconda Belli. In May we will hold another FR-EN slam, translating an extract from ‘Le Petit Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Our procedure is:

  • The moderator of the slam (Gill Holmes for ES-EN, Sue Fortescue for FR-EN) selects a date and text.
  • The ITI Wessex Coordinator circulates the information to members and asks them to register. Numbers for Zoom slams are limited to six participants.
  • The moderator circulates the text to participants, giving the date by which completed translations must be returned.
  • Before the slam, the moderator divides the text into manageable sections comprising a couple of sentences each, pastes each section into a Word document, a new page for each section, and pastes under the source text the translation provided by each participant.
  • After discussing the various translations provided by participants, the moderator reveals the published translation, often somewhat inferior to that done by the participants!

The slams are held in a very cooperative atmosphere and are, it seems, enjoyed by all! Of course, Zoom slams can be orgaised at any time, not just during a pandemic!

Sue Fortescue & Gill Holmes