Whether you're teaching Beowulf, Gilgamesh, The Bible, Shakespeare, Dante, Chaucer, or any international work of literature, there's a chance that your version doesn't match the original intent. While we don't have a lot of control over the translations we use, but it's kind of cool to look at the original to see where there could be issues.
Yes, you could just leave the scholarly work to the scholars, but kids of any age can look words up in a dictionary, and that's the basic idea of this assignment. Students take an excerpt and look up the words, then compare their "translation" to those of others.
I used this alongside several versions of the King Arthur legend (check for that assignment at my store) and versions of fairy tales (also will be available). The total effect is that students see that stories change over time AND that stories change based on who is translating the original. That's a pretty big deal if you can then apply history or politics or news or philosophy or truth as stories.