Project “Multilingual Readings”

The project “Multilingual Readings” and the Translation School in the bookstore “Є” acted under the auspices of the URCCYL, what is not a paper organization, that unite educators, scientists, literary critics, writers, translators, artists, theorists and practitioners the idea of conversion of children to the book, popularization of children’s reading, the study of the phenomenon of children's literature in all its forms and aspects. And within this grand incomprehensive theme, metaphorically speaking, on this vast field, everyone “plows own land”: one works in own field, does what he knows, can and does best of all, thus introducing to the common cause.

This is particularly important and especially relevant in our time, a characteristic feature of which is the decline of culture in general and the culture of reading in particular: not only children, but adults cannot to recite a poem in order. So the whole continent of human culture is disappearing before our eyes. As Walt Whitman said: “Great poetry is possible only in the presence of great readers”. And these readers need to be cherished.

But then, why translation matters? This question I’ve heard very often. And the answer was always ready.

  • firstly, literary translation is a great way of learning languages, which allows you to go deeply into the very essence of language, to comprehend its beauty and uniqueness, to understand that another language is not only other words – it's a different worldview, a different world perception;
  • secondly, thus a child as if inadvertently, unwittingly compares a foreign language with native, looks for similarities and differences, learns “to look into the dictionary”, better understands the native language, its richness, tone and undertones, aromas and shades, therefore independently discovers for himself important philosophical truths and ideas, forever expanding the horizons of his consciousness;
  • thirdly, we must choose high (or at least, workmanlike) examples for the translation in the child audience, despite the fact that children always want to be the best, they don't like to do something badly – they like and try to do everything good to get the attention, the praise, to become a winner; and we only need to help them: to give the best texts, to raise constantly the level which the child will reach out.

No wonder that violin virtuosos are nurtured from 5-6 year old kids. Simply brilliant translators can (and should) be formed from an early age.

But the project of multilingual reading was actually directed to awake the interest in languages, to give an impetus to their study and to the knowledge of the word art from another side, in a different light. Children always wonder what is unusual. So during the project we invited for lessons native speakers — their appearance was unusual, because most of them were foreigners. All our guests loved their language and gave this love to audience in the learning process — and it gave the classes sense, because the audience not only tried to understand a foreign language, but also studied the love to the native language..

17 guests took part in the project of multilingual reading, among who were such famous figures as Ihor Kalynets, Andrii Sodomora, Rostyslav Paranko. Ihor Kalynets presented in our class the Ukrainian translation of children’s poems by Polish writer Yezhy Herasymovych for the first time; Andrii Sodomora and Rostyslav Paranko introduced students to the Latin in its poetry and prose dimension. By the way, these lessons were broadcast by Lviv regional radio.

Ketevan Kantariia (Georgian), Ilona Nukshevitsa (Latvian), MarynaTrotsenko (Lithuanian), Takashi Khirano (Japanese), Lun Chen (Chinese)acquainted everyone with exotic languages. Also, the participants of our classes learned to read European languages.

The approach to lessons was very serious, every time students received handouts from the lecturers: the alphabet of a particular language with Ukrainian transcription, reading rules, short and simple texts with transcription and literal translation.

These lessons gave good results: a group of youth appeared in Lviv for whom multilingual reading became a daily practice, and who learned several languages at the same time actually by reading. And I believe if this project has received some funding, the results would have been noticeable, because the project could cover wider range of interesting and curious people who love the word.

Natalia Trochym,
member of the Council of the Ukrainian Research Center of Children’s and Youth Literature,
poet, translator, laureate of the Maksym Rylskyi Prize,
coordinator of the project "Multilingual reading"

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