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Every year, the University of Sheffield extends an invitation to sixth form students from all over the UK to submit their translation of a challenging original short text in German. The top ten entries are awarded a prize of a £25 Amazon voucher and are invited to participate in a translation workshop organized by the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Sheffield, alongside esteemed German scholars. We are thrilled to announce that Harry Cowan (12PS) has been selected as a winner for his exceptional translation. Below, Harry provides further details about the competition and the translation workshop.

For Sheffield University’s German Translation Competition, Year 12 and 13 students nationally were tasked with translating into English an extract from the opening pages of Contrapunctus by Michael Götting, a story about the immigration of four Afro-Germans from Ghana to Germany and the challenges they faced in Berlin. I approached this task starting with a literal translation of the German passage, then idiomatically enhancing it in order to reflect the sentiments of a woman reminiscing on her childhood growing up in Ghana.

As part of the prize, winners were invited to an online Translation Workshop run by Sheffield University, which was really insightful. In particular, the discussion on whether a translator without the shared experiences of the original author can accurately portray the intended tone, was very thought-provoking.