Cambridge National Translation Spelling Bee finalists

5 July 2022

Translation Bee

Over the weekend, four students competed in the final of the University of Cambridge Translation Bee, following their success at the qualifying rounds earlier in the year. Prior to the competition, they enjoyed a fascinating visit to Trinity College and the historic Wren Library organised by NLCS parent, Mr Shah.

Students and teachers arrived at Trinity College, Cambridge, where they were treated to a tour of this historic building including the Great Court and the Wren Library. During their visit to the library, students got to see various books, ranging from the 13th to the 18th centuries (i.e. before and after the printing press was invented), and consider how books have changed over time. Some books were on parchment, some on paper. Students learnt how the person at the printing press at the time would likely be illiterate and rearranging tiny letters and placing them at precise positions (just based on their shape) before printing runs of a book. Ms Aubic was invited to read some seven hundred-year-old French and we realised how much language had changed in that time as it was quite a struggle to make out what these words were. We were also shown a Bible written in seven languages simultaneously, a First Edition of Newton’s Principia Mathematica, and a dedication of a First Edition of Darwin’s Origin of Species from Darwin to his tutor (who was a Trinity Fellow). We were also shown a first edition of Shakespeare’s Full Works (published in 1623 – and were told a similar copy recently sold at auction for £5m), first drafts of Milton and Tennyson written in their own hands, and the original manuscript and First Edition of Winnie the Pooh.

(Mr Shah, NLCS parent)

After such a wonderful and inspiring tour, the group made their way across the backs to the Sidgwick site where the Translation Bee National Finals took place. All four pupils displayed their impressive pronunciation and memory skills in their accurate speedy translations with three of the four narrowly missing out on making their way to the grand final. In the last leg of the competition, Maya placed 4th nationally for German; no mean feat! Well done to Maya, Aheli Shouvik, Arushi and Talia for taking part and many thanks to Ms Aubic and Miss Ortiz for accompanying the trip as well as to Mr Shah for arranging the tour of Trinity College and the Wren Library.

(Ms Mardell, Head of Modern Foreign Languages and Spanish )