French lessons: local students celebrate success in national language contest

FÉLICITATIONS LES FILLES! Teacher, Jane Barraud with Bella Tringham Jones (left) and Libby Siddle

Two students from St Gregory’s Catholic School have been specially commended in the University of Oxford’s annual Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators. Eileen Leahy speaks to their French teacher Jane Barraud about the local girls’ success in this prestigious national competition…


Outgoing Year 9 students Bella Tringham Jones and Libby Siddle from St Gregory’s Catholic School were recognised last week for receiving a special commendation in the University of Oxford’s Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators.

The result is particularly impressive as this is the first year the school has participated in the contest, which saw thousands of entries from schoolchildren around the country.

The Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators is an initiative of the Queen’s College Translation Exchange and runs across four levels in five languages, covering all year groups at secondary school from ages 11 to 18.

The Queen’s College Translation Exchange’s mission is to inspire lifelong engagement in languages and international culture, and in particular to encourage young language learners to continue with their studies through their schooling and beyond.

St Gregory’s teacher Jane Barraud, who is also the school’s Subject Leader in Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), told the Times more about the competition.

“Queen’s College, Oxford, has been running a creative translation competition for young translators for the past four years, but this is the first year St Gregory’s has participated.

“Between January and April a group of aspiring linguists in Year 9 attended an extra-curricular creative translation club run by some of our school’s MFL teachers. They included Mr Card and Mrs Jotischky for Spanish and myself for French,” Mrs Barraud explained.

“The five best entries for each language were submitted and out of 15,000 participants and 3,500 entries two of our students received a special commendation for their translation of the 1865 Victor Hugo poem ‘La Meridienne du Lion.’

Victor Hugo is one of France’s most famous authors having also written ‘Les Misérables’ and ‘The Hunchback of Notre-Dame’.

“This is a fantastic achievement given the number and standard of entries received this year,” Mrs Barraud continued, before adding that a team of undergraduates and professional translators judged the entries to this year’s competition.

“They all commented on the excellent standard of entries this year. Congratulations to all of our Year 9s who participated.”



Le lion dort, seul sous sa voûte.

Il dort de ce puissant sommeil

De la sieste, auquel s’ajoute,

Comme un poids sombre, le soleil.

Son souffle soulève son ventre;

Son œil de brume est submergé,

Il dort sur le pavé de l’antre,

Formidablement allongé.

La paix est sur son grand visage,

Et l’oubli même, car il dort.

Il a l’altier sourcil du sage

Et l’ongle tranquille du fort.

Il entrevoit des monts difformes,

Des Ossas et des Pélions,

À travers les songes énormes

Que peuvent faire les lions.

Tout se tait sur la roche plate

Où ses pas tout à l’heure erraient.

S’il remuait sa grosse patte,

Que de mouches s’envoleraient!

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