Jane Eyre has been translated into French over 20 times. These resources explore the different translations that have been produced since 1849 and the creative decisions that different translators have taken. The class workshops provide scaffolded approaches to creative translation that guide pupils to produce their own pieces of work. The self-led worksheets allow pupils to discover how translators are required to make decisions about how they will translate a text. Engaging with these resources encourages the development of skills and critical thinking to support our schools competition.

Workshop: Translating Narrative Perspectives

Suggested age group: KS5

When Jane Eyre was first published in 1847, it had the subtitle ‘An Autobiography’. As a genre, autobiography has an accompanying set of ideas and expectations. Whilst the novel is undoubtedly Jane’s story, one of its key scenes — the fire at Thornfield — is told through direct speech from an unknown innkeeper, which makes us wonder what other stories may lie behind the title. This workshop focuses on this passage and the character of Bertha Mason. It analyses how translations of Jane Eyre depict Bertha before guiding pupils to rewrite the passage from Bertha’s perspective.

Workshop: Translating Action

Suggested age group: KS3–4

Jane Eyre could be described as the story of a girl and later young woman who finds herself in a series of unfortunate circumstances. The novel opens with Jane living at Gateshead Hall, where she is emotionally and physically abused by her aunt, Mrs Reed, and cousins. This workshop focuses on the fight scene between Jane and her cousin John. It assesses how different translators have presented this action scene before guiding pupils to rewrite the passage from another perspective.

Pupil-Led Activity: Translating the Madwoman in the Attic

Suggested age group: KS5

In Jane Eyre, Bertha Mason, Rochester’s first wife, is a mysterious character who is not afforded her own voice. This self-led worksheet explores how one French translation portrays Bertha before considering how the character could be rewritten from feminist and postcolonial perspectives.

Pupil-Led Activity: Judging Jane Eyre By its Cover

Suggested age group: KS3–4

The two elements on a cover that tell us the most about a book are the title and the image. In this self-led worksheet, pupils will back-translate the different titles under which Jane Eyre has appeared in French and answer prompting questions about what they suggest. Pupils will then select one title and draw an accompanying cover image.