Workshops and seminars

Alongside my work as a translator, I regularly give talks and seminars, and run practical workshops, for adults and children. Topics include:

  • creative translation including for total beginners: these combine code-breaking and creative writing with a taster of a new language, a new culture, and a new perspective on history and geography
  • language taster sessions
  • how to learn a language
  • global and inclusive reading and publishing: children’s literature in translation; diverse books for young people
  • translator training: careers advice/business training for (aspiring) translators; how publishing works for translators
  • teacher training: exploring creative translation in the classroom; diversifying/decolonising English curricula
  • librarian training events: diversifying/decolonising school library stock; preparing for World Kid Lit Month and other inclusive, global reading events for young people

My workshops and talks in schools (all ages from early years to 18!) are aimed at encouraging young people to see the enjoyment and value of languages, especially of their home or heritage language, and to broaden students (and teachers’) awareness of inclusive, global literature for young people.

See below for more details of past workshops, and please get in touch to discuss an event:

Creative translation workshops: schools/young people

Ukrainian Spotlight workshop with Anna Walden, Stephen Spender Trust
  • Stephen Spender Trust Ukrainian Spotlight: Anna Walden and I designed and delivered 4 Creative Translation workshop days at primary schools in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, based on the picturebook How War Changed Rondo
  • Gŵyl Haf Festival of Translated Literature and Arts, June 2021: introduction to creative translation from Arabic. Hour-long online workshop for Year 5 pupils at a primary school in Monmouthshire
  • Stephen Spender Trust, 2019-2021: I collaborated with primary school teachers as part of the Creative Translation in the Classroom project, a new iteration of the Translators in Schools programme. Working closely with teachers at three primary schools in Buckinghamshire, we have designed and delivered various workshops and lesson plans which introduce pupils to creative translation as an exercise in code-breaking, global cultural awareness and creative writing all in one. The aim of this project is to embed translation as a creative classroom practice that can fulfil various aspects of the curriculum including literacy, MFL, art, coding, history, geography, RE and PSHE, all within an inclusive environment that celebrates the school’s multilingual landscape.
  • Shadow Heroes: series of Arabic taster workshops under the title It’s All Arabic To Me! in October 2019. These workshops gave secondary school students an insight into creative translation, considering the ethical and cultural dimensions of the translation process; full glossary and support materials provided so no prior knowledge necessary of Arabic needed.
  • Cambridge Russian School: translation workshop on Yulia Yakovleva’s The Raven’s Children, February 2019

Creative translation workshops: adults

Interactive picturebook translation at Cheltenham Literature Festival

I offer literary translation workshops, exploring the craft and practice of translating prose and poetry, including writing for children and young adults. I also run practical workshops helping graduates and emerging translators develop their business and networking skills.

  • Oxford Brookes University, 2023: seminar and practical translation workshop for MA Publishing students, introducing global children’s literature and working with translators in children’s publishing
  • Cheltenham Literature Festival, 2022: Anna Walden and I hosted two Explore Ukrainian events as part of Ukraine Day, sponsored by the British Council and Ukrainian Institute, including an interactive translation workshop based on How War Changed Rondo
  • Bristol Translates, 2022: I gave a 2-hour workshop on translating for children
  • University College London, 2021: translation workshop in the German department
  • Manchester in Translation, February 2019: day-long workshop on Arabic literary translation, focusing on texts by female Arabic writers from Palestine and Egypt
  • Warwick Translates: I led the Arabic group at the week-long literary and creative translation summer school at Warwick University, 6-10 July 2019
  • Translate in the City: I was the Arabic tutor at the week-long literary translation summer school at City, University of London, 2017 (the precursor to Warwick Translates)
  • Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Edinburgh, 2017, 2018 and March 2019: annual literary translation workshop for MA Advanced Arabic students

Reading in translation and diverse literature for young people

Just a few of my (and my family’s) book recommendations from across Europe

I have read and reviewed children’s books from dozens of countries, many of which were translated into English from other languages. I write about global reading for young people at World Kid LitWords Without Borders, and World Literature Today, among others, and I have endless tips for anyone wanting to #ReadtheWorld and explore translated literature for young readers.

Careers events: language career advice (secondary/higher education)

  • Regular careers events for students of languages and literature at Oxford University, Cambridge University, the University of Bath, and the University of Edinburgh,
  • Regular careers events (careers in languages) at schools across Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, and in Bristol
  • Introductory Arabic taster sessions (including role play activities for total beginners) for European Day of Languages at various schools including Cheltenham Ladies College and Bredon Hill Academy, 2009-2013
  • Practical introduction to interpreting with UN interpreter Helen Reynolds-Brown for AS students at The Cotswold School, 2009

Seminars and panels on literary translation and publishing

  • London Book Fair, 2023: I spoke about contracts, negotiation skills and the challenge of earning a living as a literary translator at the panel Gimme, Gimme, Gimme, with Jamie Lee Searle and Frank Wynne, moderated by Vineet Lal
  • Emory University, 2023: online panel discussion on translating children’s and young adult literature
  • University of Bath, 2021: What is literary translation? A one-hour interactive workshop exploring the role of a literary translator against the publishing landscape
  • Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing, University of Reading, 2020: Around the World in 18 Books: An introduction to literary translation in children’s and YA publishing – my seminar is now available online with notes
  • Starling Forum at the University of Glasgow: Children’s Literature Translation, with a focus on Russian literature for young people
  • London Book Fair, 2019: I spoke about World Kid Lit, translation and diversity in children’s publishing at this panel on Diversity in Publishing Children’s Books 
  • Anthology Extended, a literary festival at independent bookshop The Suffolk Anthology, 2019: I chaired Translation as Collaboration, a panel discussion with literary translators Nashwa Gowanlock and Jessica West
  • London Book Fair, 2018: participated in a panel on the challenges of translating nonfiction
  • London Book Fair, 2016: spoke on a panel about children’s literature in translation, focussing on the three Arabic picture books I translated for Outside in World’s Reading the Way project
  • British Library, 2017: I spoke about queer literature in translation from Arabic and Russian, on a panel event, Translating Gay Identities, chaired by translator-in-residence Jen Calleja

Training and CPD for translators and publishing professionals

  • Festival of Education, Wellington College, 2021: I spoke about the principles and benefits of creative translation in the primary classroom at the panel event Creative Translation for All: Bringing authentic and inclusive texts into MFL and English classes, with Katrina Barnes and Charlotte Ryland, Director of the Stephen Spender Trust
  • Stephen Spender Trust, Multilingual Creators training, 2021: together with Rahul Bery, I planned and delivered a 15-hour course training translators and writers to design and deliver creative translation and multilingual creative workshops in secondary schools in Manchester, Newcastle and Norwich. Multilingual Creators: Me and My City is a partnership between the Stephen Spender Trust, National Centre for Writing, New Writing North and Comma Press
  • University of Bath, University of Bristol, 2019: Took part in ITI WRG careers event for early-career freelance translators and postgraduates studying translation and interpreting
  • Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Edinburgh, 2018: postgraduate seminar on routes into freelance translation and maintaining a successful portfolio career as a linguist
  • ITI Western Regional Group, 2016: Seminar about the practicalities of a career as a literary translator (if you are a member of ITI, please see the ITI Bulletin winter 2016 issue for a detailed write-up of this event)

Teacher training: creative translation and global reading