The Malta Independent 21 February 2019, Thursday

Juvenes Translatores: St Aloysius' College Sixth Form hold on to the crown

Friday, 8 February 2019, 13:28 Last update: about 12 days ago

Francesca Vassallo from St Aloysius' College Sixth Form is Malta's best young translator for 2019 and together with winners from each of the EU's 28 member states will now travel to Brussels to collect her award and meet the European Commission's professional translators.

 The European Commission announced the authors of the best 28 translations on the topic of the European Year of Cultural Heritage in its annual Juvenes Translatores competition for secondary school students. The European Commission's translators - the organisers of the contest - selected the winners from among this year's 3,252 participants from 751 schools across Europe.

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Commenting on the results from the competition, Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger in charge of Budget, Human Resources and Translation, said: "I am impressed by the language skills of these talented young people. Learning languages is key in today's society. Languages open the door to more job opportunities and help people understand each other's cultures and standpoints better. I wish all winners and participants to continue pursuing their interest in languages and spread the love for languages around them."

This year's edition of the Juvenes Translatores competition took place on 22 November and ran simultaneously in all participating schools. The competing students used 154 out of the 552 possible language combinations between each of the EU's 24 languages. Some of the most interesting choices were translations from Portuguese into Dutch and from Hungarian into Finnish.

The Maltese winning entry was also a first for the competition, due to the language combination Maltese to English, rather than the usual choice of translating to Maltese.

The European Commission's Directorate-General for Translation has been organising the Juvenes Translatores (Latin for young translators) contest every year since 2007. Over the years, the competition has become a life-changing experience for many of its participants and winners.

For example, following her trip to Brussels, the Slovenian winner of the 2010 edition, Tina Zorko, decided to study translation at university and has recently joined the European Commission's translation department as a full-time translator. "My trip to the award ceremony in Brussels is one of my fondest memories," she says. "Seeing Commission translators at work gave me an insight into the life of a real translator and reinforced my dream of some day becoming one."

Other previous Maltese winners have also eventually found employment as language professionals with the European Institutions or else pursued their studies in translation. This year, two other participants from Malta - Gabrielle Bezzina from De La Salle Sixth Form and Ryan Caruana from G. F. Abela Junior College - received a special mention for the quality of their translations. 

Twenty-three students from five schools (St Aloysius', De La Salle, Giovanni Curmi Higher Secondary and M. A. Refalo, Gozo) participated in the contest. 
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