Arts Activities

Poetry Translator

This fun and funny game can be used as a warmup or an experiential activity to explore communication. So many wonderful things come from speaking gibberish! We increase our understanding of body language, gain comfort speaking in front of an audience, and learn to improvise.

time 10 mins
time 10 or more


  • Make sure the group understands that gibberish is a made-up language of meaningless sounds accompanied by gestures. Demonstrate speaking in gibberish.
  • Speaking in gibberish can be intimidating, so begin with a warmup by breaking into groups of 3. One person is the director and the other two carry on a conversation. When the director says, “Go,” the conversation begins in English or another intact language. When the director says, “Switch,” the pair switches to speaking in gibberish. When the director again says, “Switch,” the pair moves back to English. Switch back and forth several times.
  • Switch positions, so that the director has a chance to practice speaking in gibberish.
  • Bring the whole group together and ask for two volunteers, (A) and (B).
    • (A) is a foreign language poet, whose language is gibberish.
    • (B) is a translator who is fluent in both gibberish and your local language.
    • (A) spontaneously performs their poetry in gibberish while (B) translates for the group.
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