NSS Success for Swansea Languages

Degrees in German at Swansea are Nummer eins (#1!) in Großbritannien according to the UK-wide National Student Survey – while our Spanish degrees rank seventh in the country, and Swansea University as a whole is in the top 5.

Every year final-year undergraduate students all around the UK, in 413 institutions, fill out NSS questionnaires about various aspects of their experience of the course: the quality of teaching, the intellectual stimulation, the resources, the support, the sense of community and so on. It’s a league table that matters because it’s students’ voices.



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Dr Salwa El-Awa

Swansea University’s first Lecturer in Arabic, Dr Salwa El-Awa is a high profile specialist in the language of the Quran, and in practical approaches to jihad-linked terrorism. A paper she co-authored with Basia Spalek (Professor of Conflict Transformation, Derby) on ‘The Role of Community Engagement and the Practical Role of Moderate and Non-violent Extremist Movements in Combating Jihadist Terrorism’ fed into important discussion at the first Co-JiT conference (National Conversation on Countering Jihad-linked Terrorism) in London. Papers will be published next year.

Co-Jit photo 1- SEBS panel

Salwa will be presenting a paper from her research in Quranic linguistics, on ‘Discourse Markers as Indicators of Text and Structure in the Multiple-topic Qur’anic Suras: A Meta-analysis of Q.2’, at the 10th bi-annual Qur’an conference at SOAS (University of London) in November. Later that month she will be in Istanbul to participate in the Second International Congress on Religious-Spiritual Counselling and Care with a paper (again co-authored with Professor Spalek) titled: ‘Working Spiritually and Religiously with Extremists, Within and Outside of Prison Settings.’

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#SpellBeeCymru18: The Routes Cymru National Final of the Spelling Bee 2018

On 4 July this year, Swansea University hosted the Routes Cymru National Final of the Spelling Bee 2018 on its Singleton Park Campus, with about 80 pupils from 38 schools across Wales in attendance. We were thrilled to welcome these talented pupils and SpellingBeeLogoinspiring teachers who had been working so hard since September to represent their schools at the Final –the crème de la crème amongst the more than 4,800 pupils who registered for the competition back in the autumn! The event brought to a close the annual competition designed to support Year 7 students studying French, German, Spanish and Welsh Second Language in schools all over Wales.

The high-profile grand finale was organised jointly by Swansea’s Modern Languages, Translation and Interpreting Department and Routes into Languages Cymru, a pan-Wales collaborative outreach project aiming to raise the profile of Modern Languages at a national level, with British Council Wales and the European Commission in Wales as partners. Representatives from the Spanish Embassy Education Office and the Goethe-Institut were also in attendance.

Swansea University’s role within Routes Cymru has been increasingly prominent, not only in hosting this year’s Spelling Bee Final but also in the Welsh government-funded Routes Language Ambassadors Scheme (which sends our language students to schools in order to promote languages) and the Lingo Map website, an online platform where our students blog during their year abroad for the benefit of schools preparing pupils for their GCSEs and AS/A Levels. We are already looking forward to working what Routes Cymru next year!

Find some pictures of #SpellBeeCymru18 here:

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Continuing Professional Development (CPD) workshop for teachers and PGCE students of Spanish

On 27 June Swansea University’s Department of Modern Languages, Translation and Interpreting  hosted a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) workshop for teachers and PGCE students of Spanish, jointly organised by Dr Geraldine Lublin on behalf of the Department and Dr Concha Julián de Vega and Carmen Santos Maldonado from the Spanish Embassy Education Office in the UK (featured below, together with MLTI’s Head of Department, Professor Julian Preece, and Dr Geraldine Lublin). The event was also kindly sponsored by the Junta of Castile and León, which funded six scholarships for attendees to take a CPD course in Spain over the summer. The sessions offered ranged from ‘Top Tips for AS/A Level exams’ to ‘Practical Ideas to improve Oral Exam Performance’, ‘How to make the most of poetry in the Spanish as a Foreign Language class’, ‘The two Spains, from 1936 to the present’ and ‘All about my life: Digital Portfolios and specific skills in the SFL class’, the last two offered by MLTI’s own Dr Federico López-Terra and Ms Tanya May respectively. (The full programme of activities can be accessed here.) It has been a pleasure to collaborate with the Education Office of the Spanish Embassy and we shall be looking forward to joining forces again in the near future. ¡Hasta pronto!


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Preti Taneja prize winner

One of the younger guest writers who presented in our Volcano Fridays series last year has won the prestigious Desmond Elliott Prize for her debut novel, We That Are Young, described by the judges as “awe-inspiring” in its “scope, ambition, skill and wisdom”. Preti

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Congratulations to Gabriella Valentino

Gabriella Valentino recently completed her PhD at Swansea with a dissertation on the Italian translations of the works of P. G. Wodehouse – and now the Executive Board of the International Society for Humor Studies has just awarded her their annual Graduate Award, for her paper entitled “Italian Translations of the Works of P. G. Wodehouse: An Epistemic Approach. The award (including $250) was presented to her officially during the 30th ISHS conference in Tallinn, 25-29 June.  Her presentation is online here (starts at 1h10′).  Complimenti!


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Translation Lunchtimes 3

For latest news about this, go to STING

Thursday 10 May:


Fawziah Alshehri introduced her PhD project examining Saudi literary translators’ strategies in dealing with extralinguistic cultural references.


Visiting scholar Chang Qing (Ningxia University) introduced her new study of 41 (!) Chinese translations of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.

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TransLation LunchTimes

For latest news about this, go to STING

On 27 April we held our first TLLT session bringing together research staff and students, and academic visitors, who are working on various projects in the area of translation and languages, in order to explore ways of sharing problems and insights and collaborating on new ventures. Over 30 people attended. A weekly programme is being put together, led by Associate Professor Kathryn Jones and students.  Currently planned meetings: Thursdays at 13:00,   17 May – KH248.

Thinking about translation … Here’s a children’s book by Rebecca Cobb (2007), with so far 11 translations. (More welcome!)  Remarkable how the title is re-thought in each language; tempting to think that each translator is representing a culture and also that they’re all conspiring to each make something different.



  • Lunchtime = [midday meal]
  • À table ! (French) = Come to the table! / Come and sit down!
  • Aufessen?! (German) = Eat up?! / You want me to eat up?!  [Notice the bear’s arm?]
  • Acıkmadım ki! (Turkish) = I’m not hungry!
  • (Chinese – traditional) = Who’s coming to lunch?
  • (Japanese) =

The five below were sent to us by Rebecca Cobb herself (she also sent a selection of tummy noises, for our next post):

  • Mind megettem! (Hungarian) = I ate it all!
  • Emilie! Eten! (Dutch) = Emily! Eat!
  • Spisetid (Norwegian) = Mealtime
  • (Chinese – simplified) =
  • (Korean) =


Images: thanks to Amazon and Yesasia.com and for the 5 above: to Rebecca Cobb!

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WIGS – Women in German Studies

Brigid Haines is busy preparing for the Women in German Studies 30th anniversary conference at the University of Aston on 10 November 2018. She says ‘I am so proud to be Chair of this wonderful organisation which connects female Germanists in the UK and Ireland and supports them in all aspects of their professional life.’

For a taste of WIGS’ last event, a three-day conference in Oxford on the theme of ‘Reform and Revolt’ in June 2017, follow this link to the Storify account.


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The Great German Bake Off!

The German Society and Lecturer for German Language Christiane Günther present the annual Bake Off – on 10 May at 18:00 in Taliesin. Be there or be hungry!


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