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A challenge for young language lovers: the European Commission launches its annual translation contest for schools

The European Commission’s translation department invites students from across Europe to test their translation skills in the 12th edition of its annual Juvenes Translatores contest.

This year, teenagers with a taste for languages will translate a text on the topic of cultural heritage. The theme has been chosen to honour the European Year of Cultural Heritage, 2018.

Participants can choose to translate between any two of the 552 possible language combinations using the EU’s 24 official languages. Last year saw school students translating texts from Polish into Finnish, from Czech into Greek, and from Croatian into Swedish, to name a few of the 144 combinations used.

European Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger in charge of budget, human resources and translation said: “Languages are at the heart of Europe’s diversity and a path towards understanding our identity. Through this competition, young people are reminding us of how diverse we actually are and that diversity is one of our biggest assets. I therefore invite everybody who loves languages to participate, and help showcase and build on our linguistic cultural heritage”.

To take part in the contest, young people’s schools need to follow the two-phase registration process.

First, secondary schools must register via the website ec.europa.eu/translatores. Registration opens on 1 September 2018, runs until 20 October 2018 at noon and can be completed in any of the 24 EU languages.

Second, the European Commission will invite a total of 751 schools, selected randomly, to nominate two to five students who will take part in the contest. The students can be of any nationality and should be born in 2001.

The competition will take place on 22 November and will run simultaneously in all participating schools.

The winners — one per country — will be announced by early February 2019. They will receive their prizes in the spring of 2019 at a special ceremony in Brussels.

During their visit, students will have the chance to meet professional translators from the European Commission’s translation department — the people who evaluated their translations — and talk about working with languages.

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