August 28, 2017

Translation Club

The program in a nutshell

Translation club is an event that brings together learners of Chinese and English to work together on a translation. Translations then feed into an original magazine bringing new voices from China to Western Readers.

Why Translation Club? 

Translation Club was originally developed to address the following challenge: how might we develop a language exchange format that would satisfy advanced and committed learners of Chinese and English? Many language exchange events are run without clear facilitation guidelines, and tend to focus on ‘small talk’ practice. In contrast, Translation Club aims to support the acquisition of grammar structures and new vocabulary, promote code-switching, and reveal the cultural implicits embedded in language.

What is Translation Club? 

Translation Club is a 1h30-2h30 peer-learning event that uses collaborative translation to promote language exchange and trigger deep cultural exchange. Small bilingual groups of 3-6 people receive a text in Chinese that they are invited to translate into English. The texts are recent articles about contemporary cultural issues. Translations are then uploaded to the Marco Polo magazine.

During the process of translation, participants can practice both English and Chinese as part of the conversation; they learn new vocabulary and discuss grammatical structures; elements of the text trigger conversations about cultural differences. The event finishes with a group reflection on the translation process and specific vocabulary and sentences which were difficult/insightful.

What are the outcomes? 

Translation Club is an engaging and fun event with interesting and motivated participants. The workshops are great for Chinese learners and speakers who want to develop their knowledge of language and meet other people who speak their language.  Participants have authentic conversations in both Chinese and English about real topics in society.

We presented Translation Club at the November 2017 FASIC conference in Xuzhou. You can check out a presentation with details of Translation Club here: FASIC – Marco Polo TClub online

Where are we now?

Translation Club was first piloted in 2013, on the basis of the Marco Polo Magazine, where the organisation started. We since ran over 80 such events around the world, in Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, Universities, and community groups. Translation Club now runs as a weekly MeetUp in Melbourne.