CIOL’s annual awards celebrate the importance of language and cultural understanding, the value of languages to business and industry and excellence in language learning.

This year’s challenging circumstances prevented us from holding our annual awards evening in person, however we still wanted to celebrate the great successes and achievements that have continued in spite of the difficult circumstances.

Our award winners kindly agreed to be interviewed by our CEO John Worne on zoom and the results of the interviews are now on our YouTube channel.

The Threlford Cup, our major award for encouraging others to learn languages, was awarded to BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), UK, for the unique and innovative resources developed for teaching Gujarati and ensuring that the language and culture are kept alive among young members of the Gujarati community. In the last 10 years, BAPS has developed and shared many resources to help supplementary schools teach Gujarati in a unique way that is enjoyable and fun not only in the UK but also in North America, Africa, Australia, the UAE and surprisingly also with Gujarat, India. The award was accepted by Rahul Bhagvat in London, who has given his time as a volunteer to BAPS for more than 20 years. As a national lead and coordinator for children’s activities, he has overseen a number of key projects, including the development of educational resources for teaching Gujarati to children. He has supervised a team of creative and dedicated volunteers (Alpesh Patel,  Miraj Patel, Lalji Ladwa, Shailesh Pujara, Jignasha Patel & Saryu Patel amongst others) who spearheaded a number of projects to develop new Gujarati resources. More recently, this has involved new, innovative teaching aids that will harness digital technology to make learning Gujarati more enjoyable, engaging and effective. 

As runner-up to the Threlford Cup, a Special Commendation was awarded for a language-learning initiative from the School of Slavonic & East European Studies (SSEES) at UCL. SSEES has developed a unique programme of language short courses that cover 18 Eastern European languages, ranging from Russian and Polish to Albanian, Bulgarian, Georgian or Macedonian, which is unrivalled in the United Kingdom for its breath and depth. Course Co-ordinator Ramona Gonczol accepted the award and explains how the project is run and what impact it is having on encouraging the learning of East European languages in the UK.

The Nick Bowen Award is presented in memory of CIOL’s late president and is a cash prize of £500, awarded to a young CIOL member towards a project or placement which aims to promote international understanding. This year’s winner is Lucy Makepeace who is working in Togo, West Africa, teaching French in village schools and community centres. Lucy said in her application for the award: ‘I am driven by the desire to use my skills and aptitude for languages to help others. Therefore, as well as setting up my business as a medical and legal translator and interpreter, I work closely with the school in Togo and hope to soon go back and help further.’ She did indeed return to Togo and in our video is speaking to John Worne from her home there. The £500 will go towards supplying the school library with books and other resources, and establishing a weekly film showing.

Candidates in CIOL’s professional language qualification – the Diploma in Translation – also received awards for their outstanding achievements. The DipTrans, our long-established Level 7 (or Master’s Level) qualification is highly regarded around the world as the gold standard for translators, and the benchmark for professional standards. It helps those who hold the qualification into careers as a freelance translator, or to work in translation for global organisations worldwide.

The Best Candidate award goes to Madalina Onofras, the Best English to German Translation award goes to Heike Kurtz, and the Best Literature Translation award to Mihail Banica.

In our interviews with John Worne, our three translation award winners talk about the challenges of preparing for the DipTrans exam, and offer their advice to future candidates.