Last week the modern foreign languages department began a series of poetry translation workshops run by the Poetry Translation Centre. Etonians and students from The London Academy of Excellence explored the process of translation, learning the principal aim of retaining as much meaning as possible from the original source language.

Meeting again at The London Academy of Excellence, students worked on translating a Brazilian Portuguese poem into their own poetic form. Despite none of the students involved speaking Portuguese, a literary translator was on hand to assist.

Working as a group, students were encouraged to consider how analysis of individual words provided insight into the Brazilian culture, and in translating the poem as accurately as possible, were inspired to think about similarities to their own cultures.

The workshops were very valuable for students of language, considering how the translation process can distort meaning. Indeed, there is no such thing as a perfect translation. The opportunity to meet and work with LAE students was really fun and helped to improve teamwork and communication skills, in fact Etonians are looking forward to running their own workshops in the near future.