Recently, the Juvenes Translatores Awards announced their 2019-2020 winners. Latin for “Young Translators”, the competition is open to 17-year-old high school students in the European Union.
Each candidate must translate a page of text from one language into another. Participants can choose their language pair, and the translations are done online, simultaneously (based on the time in Brussels, Belgium, the capitol of the European Union).
It’s wonderful that translation skills are being promoted and awarded at such a young level.
But when you look a little deeper, there are a few things about the contest that may arguably not be so great.
For one, each country’s number of entrants is based on how many seats they have in the European Parliament. This means that some very gifted translators from a particular country (who may not even be working in that country’s national language(s)) might not get a chance to participate.
If a country has too many entrants, a computer system randomly selects schools with candidates, so participation might not even be totally merit-based.
When you consider that winning this contest can open doors to translation careers, including within the EU Commission, that’s a real shame.
Still, the overall idea of the competition is laudable, as are this year’s winners. Read on to learn more about the Juvenes Translatores competition and its champions.