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Newcastle Castle Translation

Is it a château, castillo or a schloss?

Published on: 7 June 2019

Newcastle University students translate audio guides for Newcastle Castle

Overseas visitors

Modern language students have been putting their skills to use in the real world by helping Newcastle Castle improve information for overseas visitors.

A group of 28 students have recorded new audio guides in French, German, Portuguese and Chinese (Mandarin) for the historic city landmark.

David Silk, Learning Officer, got in touch with the School of Modern Languages. “We’d done some research and found that 50% of our visitors were from outside the UK, so we wanted to improve what we had on offer for them,” he explained.

“We wanted to work with an organisation where this project would be useful to them as well as us. The University had translated some leaflets for the castle a few years earlier so we got in touch.”

L - R Dr Pauline Henry-Tierney, Angela Uribe de Kellett, David Silk, Dr Conceição Pereira and Matthew Cummins

Translation skills

Languages lecturer Angela Uribe de Kellett said: “I was thrilled to hear Newcastle Castle were looking to have their audio-guide translated.

“We are always on the lookout for possible opportunities for our students to try out their translation skills and to link them up with local organisations. But to do it for such an emblematic building of Newcastle was just fantastic.”

Matthew Cummins is in the final year of studying French and German. He translated sections of the audio guides describing the Castle’s King’s Chamber and different artefacts.

“It was great to be able to take the skills I’ve learned in my course and to use them in a real way,” he says. “I’m from Gateshead and being able to use my language skills to help do something positive for a local landmark made it an even better experience.”

Tenth anniversary

It was part of the Real Translation Project, a programme run by a group of language teachers and student volunteers from the University, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. Working together, they help charitable and community organisations translate documents into various languages taught at the University.

Over the past decade around 500 undergraduates have worked with organisations such as National Trust properties Cragside and Wallington, translated documents for local primary schools and provided translation and interpreting support for human rights lawyers.

“These real-life projects are an excellent opportunity for our language students”, added Dr Uribe de Kellett. “They volunteer for various reasons but many are keen to enhance their CV.

“A good number have gone on to work or to do further studies in translation and one Erasmus Exchange student even set up her own translation company after taking part.”


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