Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2015 Competition for Child Translators

On Christmas Day I was listening to a concert from Brussels on TV. One of the works was a beautifully performed Bach double violin concerto. Of the soloists, one was a young woman, young but adult. The other was a girl who was just as accomplished as her companion but who looked no older than twelve. A mere child, but gifted; a musical genius. She started me thinking about child translators.

It's not necessary for a child to be 'exceptionally gifted' to learn to play the violin. Thanks to Shinichi Suzuki and other music teachers, thousands of ordinary children do it every year. All they need is ten fingers, a perception of musical pitch and the mysterious delight in melody and rhythm which almost all children are born with worldwide. Music, for all its artificial elaborateness in pieces like the Bach concerto, is basically natural. Most of the chldren give up the violin after a while, but the basics of music that they have acquired on the way stay with them for life. Some of them persist, however; and a select few who really are exceptionally gifted reach the level of the Brussels soloist and we class them as geniuses.

Translating still awaits its Suzuki. But we know, especially from the studies of child language brokers, that child natural translators abound. All they need is to be bilingual. Yet the example of music tells us that if there are so many child translators who are not exceptionally gifted, then there should be a select few geniuses at the top of the pyramid who are, because it's a hierarchy to which all natural abilities conform. Can we find them?

At that point I had an idea for a first step. Here it is.

.........................Preliminary Announcement.....................

2015 Translatology Competition for Child Translators
-------------------------under 12 years old----------------------

First prize 400 euro
Second prize 200 euro
Third prize 100 euro

Language combination for 2015: Spanish to English
Other combinations in future years

The terms and texts of the competition will be announced in January.


Now nothing remains for 2014 but to wish my 195 Followers and all my other readers


  1. What you're saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I'm sure you'll reach so many people with what you've got to say.

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