All posts by Christian Griffiths

The Eternal Tale

A short story by Tomás Borrás

Translated by Viola Ann Rosario, Tiare Rubio and Karen Rodriguez, #BeCosMelb

The gods shared a secret with the mother: “As long as you feed the flame of that bonfire, your son will live”. And the mother, tireless, kept the fire alive, watching the fire, not allowing the fire to diminish in intensity or height.

Just like that, the years went by. The mother knelt before the hearth, seeing how the embers stretched their scarlet, joyful arms, guaranteeing her son’s vitality. Sleepless, hour after hour, the mother added new logs to the hot pile, wakefully watching its beautiful heat.  

One day, through an open door that faced the fields, a young white lady entered, smiling and beautiful, sure footed, with eyes that looked with delight and hope towards the future. Without a word, the young lady helped the surprised mother to get up, nodded goodbye, and knelt before the hearth, to feed the crackling fire.

The mother didn’t question. She understood the young lady was her replacement. She needed to give up her place to a stranger, the one who was in charge from then on, to feed the eternal flame so her son could survive.  

And, without a word, the mother left the house, but she didn’t go far away – just where she could discreetly contemplate the delicate smoke dissolving into the delicate blue sky. 

Introducing BeCosMelb

TransCollaborate and City of Melbourne: “Becoming Cosmopolitan Melburnians”

TransCollaborate is proud to introduce our new project with the support of City of Melbourne, Becoming Cosmopolitan Melburnians, which we have naturally abbreviated to the handy “BeCosMelb” tag!

Project vision

BeCosMelb aims to create more opportunities for engagement, collaboration and leadership within and between CALD communities in Melbourne, through collaborative translation. 

Project goals:

We will provide a program of events and leadership training designed to:

  • Develop stronger connections and new meaningful friendships within and outside participants’ existing communities.
  • Develop a stronger sense of identity as a ‘Melburnian’ in a way that makes sense to participants
  • Build capacity and confidence to explain their culture and to draw from their culture to engage socially, professionally and civically
  • Support emerging leadership skills in individuals interested in leading and facilitating events for their communities
  • Produce creative and literary outputs attributed to participants to enhance confidence, ownership and visibility 

For BeCosMelb’s first phase, we have launched two series of workshops

  1. The Chinese-Australian Networking Events (CANE), which uses collaborative translation to create social connection between Chinese international students and the broader Melbourne community. 
  2. The Latin-American Workshops (LAW), which use collaborative translation to promote self-esteem and resilience among LatinX communities in Melbourne and beyond.

If you are interested in finding out more about this project, please contact us on

TransCollaborate and BeCosMelb acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land that makes up the City of Melbourne, the Peoples of the Kulin Nation. We also pay respects to their Elders past and present.

Recipe: Korean pancakes!

(In Korean and English)

By Baek Jong-won. Translated by Yoon-hwa Choi and Laura Donea.

A great little collaborative translation session between our stars Yuna and Laura. A scant 30 minutes collaborating with tasty results! Stay tuned for more intercultural cuisine.


감자 작은거 6개
식용유 약간
홍고추 1개
소금 약간

1. 먼저 감자는 깨끗이 씻어서 믹서기에 갈아주세요. 갈으실때 물을 조금씩 섞어가면서 해주세요.

2. 다 갈리면 체에 걸러주세요.

3. 거른 물은 버리지 마시고 15분동안 방치! 그러면 녹말만 가라앉고 물은 따라 버리세요.

4. 이 녹말을 감자와 함께 섞으세요.

5. 소금으로 간을 살짝 해주세요. 홍고추는 어슷썰기를 해서 고명으로 올릴거에요.

6. 이제 후라이팬에 기름을 조금두르고(많이 두르면 오히려 뒤집기 힘들어요.) 가장자리부터 포슬포슬한 느낌이 나면 기름을 조금더 추가!

7. 이제 후라이팬을 살살 돌리면 떨어짐이 느껴지시면 뒤집으시면 되요.

8. 감자전 완성이랍니다~


6 small potatoes
a little bit of oil – any
1 spicy red pepper
a little bit of salt

1. Firstly, wash the potatoes and then blend the potatoes. While blending, keep adding water to the potatoes.

2. When finished blending, strain the potatoes.

3. Do not throw away the strained water, leave it for 15 minutes! The starch will sink to the bottom of the bowl and then you can remove the water so that the starch can be used.

4. Mix the starch with the potatoes.

5. Season the potatoes with a little bit of salt. Sliced the red pepper and garnish the potato pancake.

6. Now, put a little bit of oil in the pan (if you put a lot of oil, it’s hard to flip the pancake). If the edge of the pancake feels crispy, lift the pancake with the spatula and add more oil under the pancake.

7. When the pancake no longer sticks to the pan, flip it.

8. The potato pancakes are completed~

View the original recipe here:

The Infantilisation of Language-Learner Identity

By Christian Griffiths for TransCollaborate.

In a recent post, Julien Leyre wrote about some of the specific challenges that face language learners, especially in the context of migration. Foremost among these is the challenge of “incorporating the new language to your identity, and enacting a persona consistent with your own in the new medium.” Rediscovering a persona in the structures of a new language may be difficult enough, but in some ways the traditional structures of language education make it harder.

Leyre also observes that, when learning a new language …” your adult self [is] trapped in the linguistic body of a 2 year old”. One consequence of this is a tendency towards infantalisation in the ESL classroom, where learners are structurally disadvantaged in the transaction of knowledge sought (by the learner) and knowledge possessed (by the instructor). This disadvantage can become rooted in the learner’s emerging identity, and pose a genuine obstacle to their developing a mature, newly-integrated self. Collaborative translation has the capacity to disrupt this trend. 

In a 2019 series of TransCollaborate workshops, Mandarin speakers collaborated with their native-English instructor to translate short prose texts from Mandarin into English. The instructor had no previous experience of Mandarin, and so the learners were suddenly the ones who possessed the required knowledge – and the instructor who lacked it. What was observed in these workshops was that the learners started exhibiting signs of ownership and authority that had been absent in their earlier classroom interactions. It is clear that bringing their own linguistic and cultural knowledge into the learning space provides learners with an opportunity to shift some of their own adult personas into their developing L2 identity.

A TransCollaborate workshop, Wheeler Centre, 2019

TransCollaborate’s recent VicHealth project has witnessed how this process of learner empowerment can be further supported through engagement with local and national literatures. In our Romanian workshops, for example, we have noticed that a great deal of enthusiasm has arisen when participants have worked with texts by Romanian writers such as Vasile Baghiu, Cosmin Perta and Diana Badica, and have bonded over this connection with their shared culture. In addition, by delivering this literature to a new readership in English, the participants are undertaking the important work of representing their home culture in a new social context. These outcomes represent significant gains for participants whose identities may have struggled to mature in the context of their new language and new home.