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Stu­dents study in class­rooms. Col­legian.

Ten classics stu­dents spent time trans­lating pas­sages of Greek and Latin as a part of the annual Maurine Dallas Watkins Trans­lation Con­tests this past week.

Although the results will not be announced until the national con­vention of the Eta Sigma Phi Hon­orary for Clas­sical Studies March 23 through 25, Assistant Pro­fessor of Classics Laury Ward said Hillsdale College stu­dents had success in pre­vious years. Last year, Hillsdale stu­dents placed within the top three nationally in four of the six trans­lation cat­e­gories, one of which had two stu­dents place.

“That, I would say, is rep­re­sen­tative of how we’ve usually done,” Ward said.

Each exam con­sists of trans­lating a passage of Latin or Greek of about a half or a third of a page in length. Stu­dents have two hours to com­plete the trans­lation in the cat­e­gories of advanced or inter­me­diate Latin, advanced or inter­me­diate Greek, and Koine Greek.

Stu­dents can also com­plete a three-hour exam in Latin Com­po­sition, which con­sists of trans­lating English prose into Latin.

Ward said stu­dents com­pleted an average of two exams each.

Junior Carrie Bie­ganek, who com­pleted the advanced Latin and inter­me­diate Greek exams, said this year’s exam was harder than last year’s exam in terms of sen­tence structure and vocab­ulary. She added, however, that it was a valuable expe­rience as a classics major.

“It’s a cool way to gauge where you’re at and how much Latin you actually know,” Bie­ganek said.

Sophomore Emma Frank, who placed third in last year’s inter­me­diate Latin exam, said the reading and dis­cussion in her Latin classes helped to prepare her for the trans­lation exam.

“It’s some­thing good to know how to do as a classics major,” Frank said.

Pas­sages from pre­vious years’ com­pe­ti­tions have included works from writers such as Cicero, Herodotus, Livy, Plato,Tacitus, Thucy­dides and Xenophon, according to Ward.

Ward said Hillsdale’s Latin and Greek classes help stu­dents succeed on the trans­lation exams by empha­sizing the impor­tance of reading in Greek or Latin and not just trans­lating it to English.

“We con­sider this to be very valuable expe­rience not just because they’re getting to compete nationally, but also for people who are Latin or Greek majors, we have trans­lation exams that you need to pass,” Ward said. “Those are sight exams, so it’s good expe­rience and we always encourage our majors espe­cially to do these exams because the act of sitting down and trying to translate a passage without prepa­ration or context is always good expe­rience .for improving their reading ability.”