Collective Translation

Many big companies, museums and councils translate their websites in numerous languages but one organisation leads by a mile. The Jehovah’s witnesses website has been translated into a staggering 805 languages and they are still adding more. For obvious reasons that is not the site I use for the following activity but many others can be easily linked to the subject specific content language I need to prepare my students for.


A while ago at an exposition called ‘Up in the Air’ I came across the ‘Drone Survival Guide’, a poster that is used in Syria and other nations that are in danger of drone attacks. The poster describes different tactics for hiding from drones. The poster itself is made from reflective material  that reflects sunlight into a drone’s camera, making this poster a useful tool to interfere with the drone’s sensors. The poster itself has been translated into many languages by the public and these translations are posted on



Give each student or group of students in your class the same extract/paragraph in their home language and ask them to translate it into English. Students who have the same L1 can work together. Of course they can use translating devices, but the rule is that they don’t translate and copy whole sentences. Once all the students have finished  you could make two big groups and ask them to come to a collectively agreed translation. Finally students compare, discuss and reflect on the language used.

Thanks for Supporting EAL Learners

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