I work in a variety of ways to spread the good news about foreign languages and literatures – as project manager, editor, translator and lecturer. I’m particularly committed to promoting languages at school level and to widening participation at university level, and I’m interested in the role that translation and foreign literatures can play in that endeavour. I run two organisations: the Stephen Spender Trust, and the Translation Exchange at The Queen’s College Oxford.
See the Projects page for information about each of these roles.
At the end of June, I thoroughly enjoyed co-presenting a webinar on creative translation in the classroom, with inspiring MFL teacher and translator Katrina Barnes. We were bowled over by the enthusiasm and creativity of the 126 participants. Definitely keen to do another soon, and also to work harder to get teachers translating together IRL! Thank you to the London branch of the Association for Language Learning for inviting me and Katrina to speak.
It was a pleasure to judge the first ever undergraduate translation competition for the White Rose Project, in June 2020. This competition was in partnership with the Oxford German Network, which I co-founded in 2012 – good to be involved again! I’m a big fan of the White Rose Project’s director, Alex Lloyd, who does fantastic outreach work for German and the university. Check out this short film she made about a translation workshop with one of my favourite German poets, Ulrike Almut Sandig.
My last trip before the Covid lockdown was certainly a memorable one – to Manchester to give a plenary lecture at the national conference Language World (Association for Language Learning). A weekend with MFL teachers was always going to be a pleasure, and I came away buzzing with ideas and so impressed by the creativity and commitment of the teachers I met and heard presenting. My PowerPoint is here.
I subsequently wrote an article on creative translation in the classroom for Languages Today, the ALL magazine, which is available as a download here.
I was on the judging panel for the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize 2019, a prize for book-length literary translations into English. The prize was awarded at Oxford Translation Day on Saturday 15 June.
In March 2019 we built a ‘Spectacular Translation Machine’ (STM) at the Bodleian library, as part of an event to celebrate the Babel: Adventures in Translation exhibition. The STM is the brainchild of Sarah Ardizzone and Danny Hahn and is a fantastic way of turning translation into a collaborative, public event. I am hooked!
In January 2019 the book Brecht and the Writer’s Workshop, which I co-edited with Tom Kuhn, was published by Bloomsbury. I also translated one of the dramatic fragments in the book, ‘The Real Life of Jacob Trotalong’, which Brecht wrote in the 1930s.
I recently published a report on undergraduate participation in MFL outreach, and how literature can be used in the MFL classroom, with funding from the German Embassy in London.
In autumn 2018 I set up the Queen’s College Translation Exchange. This fulfils another dream – bringing together my experience of and contacts in the worlds of literary translation and academia, in order to support MFL teaching in schools and raise aspiration amongst young language-learners.
In February 2018 I took part in the ‘Brecht-Tage’ in Berlin, speaking about my translation for Brecht and the Writer’s Workshop (see above). This was a fitting end to four wonderful years as Postdoctoral Researcher on the Writing Brecht project.