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Cape Henlopen students tackle translation project

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What started out as a phone call patched through to Cape Henlopen High School’s Italian teacher Cristina Christy became a dream fufilled for Margot Kia.

Working with the Peace Corps, living in other countries and learning other languages, Kia has had an adventurous life. But more recently, at the onset of the COVID pandemic, Kia became a devoted fan of the youthful Italian opera trio Il Volo. Finding herself, as so many did, isolated and lonely, Kia watched Il Volo’s 2019 concert from Matera, Spain, throughout the pandemic.

Unfortunately, she was not able to understand the songs they sang or their seemingly light banter between songs. “I tried to understand them but couldn’t. But I really wanted to,” said Kia. When she read that Cape Henlopen High School offers a four-year Italian program, she decided to reach out to Christy with an unusual request for a translation of what the three chatted about between the songs. “I had never gotten a call such as this one, but knew I had to help,” said Christy. “I told Ms. Kia that I would present this challenge to my students, now in their fourth year with me, and they were very receptive.”

Christy transcribed their dialogue and assigned translations of these real-life conversations to her students. What they presented to Kia on May 26 was far more than a simple translation and a bouquet of fl owers. In fact, it was a 67-page document with every interaction in both Italian and English, as well as the lyrics to each of the 22 songs sung in the concert. The songs that were in Italian or Spanish were also provided with English translations.

Although May 25 was the seniors’ unofficial last day of school, a handful of them agreed to meet with Christy and Kia at her residence on May 26 to present the translation. Surrounded by the students, clutching her three-ring binder, Kia spoke to the seniors about her life experiences. She also shared a letter expressing her appreciation for the time and effort the students put into the translation.

“Thank you for providing Cape Henlopen High School students the valuable opportunity to learn Italian and gain an insight into Italian culture,” said Kia to Christy.

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