The FIFA World Cup is, among other things, a large global business. Players, coaches, managers, support staff, marketing staff, medical staff, and even event staff come from all over the world and speak hundreds of languages. Sometimes players on the same team don’t even speak the same language, as players may get traded or drafted by teams in different countries. So like any global business, the World Cup has a deep need for multi-language translation services and professional interpreting services. Read on to see how translating and interpreting needs are handled at the World Cup.
When are Translation and Professional Interpreting needed?
Professional Interpreting at Events and Games
FIFA provides professional interpreting in its four official languages at games and events (that’s English, French, German, and Spanish). They’ll also be providing Russian interpretation at this world cup, of course, as it’s in Moscow and 11 other Russian cities. Interpreters are there for a few reasons, including communication between teams, referees and players, and for commentary. Depending on the teams that play and how far they get in the tournament, interpretation for more languages will be provided. Some teams will also pay their own interpretation companies to augment these services if they have a need for translating and interpreting in a particularly rare language. In 2014, there were about 18 languages interpreted and translated at the World Cup. In 2018 there will be around the same number.
Professional Interpreting and Translating Written Materials-Tight Deadlines and Four Eyes
FIFA holds all of its translation to very high standards. To start, translators only work in their mother tongues to ensure the translation services will be provided with the best ear for language and the best personal experiences for localization. Once a piece is translated (often into the four official languages of FIFA), then it must be proofread for layout and content. Even at breakneck pace, FIFA’s translators follow a ‘four-eyes’ policy: two sets of eyes must see a document before it’s approved, not just one! And speaking of breakneck pace, translators are often hit with sudden and important projects like media releases that must go out before they become old news. With a fast-paced sport like Soccer, it’s no surprise that updates like injuries, wins, losses, or other news-worthy moments come up quickly. These must be sent out, translated accurately of course, to the media.
Translating and Interpreting by Some Non-Professionals
Even with professional interpreting, sometimes a little more help is needed. The pundits who act as commentators on the games and press conferences — often former players and managers themselves– will help with this. Pundits have a unique background for interpretation here because they don’t just speak the language of coaches and players in press conferences. They also have been on the field themselves. Their bodies and memories ‘speak the language’ of professional soccer player or coach—a rare dialect indeed. This lets them give an even sharper, more accurate interpretation for viewers.
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