Fionnán Ó Coisdealbha from Coláiste Chroí Mhuire in An Spidéal, Co Galway, is the Irish winner of the 17th EU young translation contest ‘Juvenes Translatores' for secondary schools.

He won with a translation from English to Irish with the topic ‘daring to make a difference’.

This is the second year in a row that the Irish prize was won by a student from Coláiste Chroí Mhuire. The award ceremony will take place in Brussels on 21 March.

About the competition

Juvenes Translatores is a competition to reward the best young translators in the European Union.

Funded by the Erasmus+ programme, the European Commission’s directorate-general for translation has organised the Juvenes since 2007, when young translators have contested every year to promote translation and multilingualism.

The competition is open to 17-year-old secondary school students and takes place at the same time in all selected schools across the EU.

Giving Gaeilge recognition

Speaking about his award, Fionnán tells Irish Country Living: “In all honesty, I didn’t expect to win the big prize at all. It was a huge honour for me, especially when I have such a love for my native language.

"It was a brilliant opportunity for us all who competed to translate from English to Gaeilge when the language doesn’t get enough recognition in today’s society.”

The translation itself was based on a conversation between two people about AI.

“In my own head, I tried to be as creative as I could and throw in a few jokes where I could. Luckily, it all paid off in the end.

"Muna mbeadh Gaeilge i mo shaol bheadh saol an-leamh agam. Labhraím an teanga go laethúil agus tar eis an bua seo tá súil agam i a choinneál i mo shaol go brách,” says Fionnán.

The whole school community is delighted for and proud of Fionnán, says principal of Coláiste Chroí Mhuire Tríona Uí Mhurchú.

“Fionnán is an accomplished musician, a strong sportsman, academically very bright and well-liked by everyone.

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"Comhghairdeachas ó chroí leat a Fhionnain agus leis na daltaí eile a ghlac páirt sa gcomórtas i mbliana, sin iad, Éabha Ní Chonghaile, Éadaoin Ní Dhroighneáin, Neasa Nic Dhonncha agus Róise Ní Churraoin. Comhghairdeachas mór freisin le Róise Ní Churraoin a fuair Ardmholadh as ucht ardchaighdeán a cuid aistriúcháin. Nár laga Dia sibh ar fad,” says Tríona.

Other awards

Across Europe, in total, 3,056 enthusiastic participants put their language skills to the test, choosing to translate a text between any two of the EU’s 24 official languages.

While English has a prominent role, of the 552 language combinations available, students from 701 schools used 155 combinations.

Co Galway students scooped six out of the seven 'special commendation' awards for Ireland.

They go to Róise Ní Churraoin, also from Coláiste Chroí Mhuire, Rebecca Breathnach, Róisín Ní Lionaird, Katie Ní Lochlainn and Seán Ó Laoghaire, all from Coláiste na Coiribe in Galway city. They all translated texts between Irish and English.

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Renato Brule from Coláiste Éinde won his commendation with a translation from Spanish to English.

Zuzanna Lacka from St Flannan's College in Ennis, Co Clare, got a special commendation for a translation from Polish to English.

Commissioner for Budget and Administration Johannes Hahn applauded the students: “Congratulations to the winners of the EU’s 2023 Juvenes Translatores contest!

"Today, gaining a better understanding of each other’s cultures and standpoints is more important than ever. With language skills, you learn to find meaning and help people bridge divides. Especially in view of the upcoming European elections, the EU wants to see young people have a strong voice and feel heard.”

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