Charlène Meyers

The Translation Duel as a Gamified Hybrid Learning Activity

Article information:
Volume VI 2022, No 2, Pages: 88-112
Charlène Meyers, Research and Teaching Associate, English Unit: Literature, Language, Interpretation and Translation, Faculty of Translation and Interpretation, University of Mons, Belgium, email address:

Abstract: This paper intends to show how a translation competition, namely the “translation duel,” can be turned into a useful pedagogical tool to train translation students to adapt their target text to imposed discursive parameters and consequently learn the skopos theory in an intuitive, applied, and playful way. A translation duel can be defined as a translation competition between two translators (or two teams of translators) who compete against the clock to translate a source text under the constraint of imposed discursive parameters. The target text of both translators is projected on large screens to let spectators see the translations typed in real time including idea changes, correction of spelling mistakes, last-minute editing, etc. Finally, at the end of the round, the target texts are read out loud and the spectators can vote for their favorite target text. The concept of translation duel is largely inspired by the “lucha libro,” which is a creative writing competition in which writers are invited to produce a creative text in a very short time. This paper guides the reader through the implementation of a real translation duel that took place during the COVID-19 pandemic between translation students from the University of Mons (Belgium) and translation students from the Université Laval (Canada). Most importantly, this article argues that this type of activity provides four main advantages: first, a translation duel provides an intuitive introduction to the skopos theory. Secondly, it enables students to develop the natural skills on which a professional translator usually relies, such as rapidity, creativity, composure, team spirit, and interpersonal competence. Thirdly, it can take place either on-site, remotely, or in hybrid mode, with translators competing (and spectators watching) from different parts of the world. Finally, the translation duel can be seen a gamified activity that allows to enhance learning.

Keywords: gamification of translation, hybrid learning, skopos theory, translation duel, translation pedagogy.

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