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Intepreting for the Sports: Football interpreting

Sep 21, 2021

Very proud and grateful to have worked as a simultaneous and consecutive interpreter on an amazing football project that involved the participation of Chelsea’s goalkeeper Eduard Mendy and a fantastic group of young footballers. To witness the light and the excitement in the eyes of the young football players I worked for, and to know that I have, even if to a minimal extent, contributed to a once-in-a-lifetime experience that they will remember for ever was heart-warming.

I am taking this opportunity to share some thoughts on the many challenges posed by #footballinterpreting and #sportinterpreting:

– ⚽ 📚 terminology
A bicycle-kick, a half volley, a panenka, a keepy-uppy, a rabona, to be nutmegged… football jargon is fascinating and rich. Successfully interpreting for football events requires mastering a complex lingo with both speed and accuracy. Given the high performativity of the interpreter’s words during football events, speed and accuracy have a tangible effect on the the training, game, or competition. Therefore, a genuine passion for the beautiful game and thorough terminology research are key.
– 🗣 communication style
A football interpreter needs to be prepared to shout if necessary, and to convey a broad range of emotions. Whether the coach (or the player) is reassuring, calming, motivating, insistent, excited, or even angry, the interpreter’s challenge is to make sure that the right message is conveyed by matching the speaker’s meta-communication and paralanguage (pitch, intonation, volume, talking speed, etc).
– 🔈 audio quality
If you are interpreting on a football pitch, maybe in the rain, maybe surrounded by a cheering crowd, a group of players, and fellow interpreters working in different languages, the audio is an element that can pose frequent challenges.
– 🏃‍♀️ physical factors
Simultaneously running, listening and talking takes the concept of multitasking to a new level. The physical fatigue, combined with the usual high cognitive load involved with the activity of interpreting can result in a particularly tiring interpreting session.

This being said, if it’s your cup of tea, overcoming professional challenges can rarely be as satisfying and fun as it is in football. The human connections facilitated by sport, along with the happiness and the excitement of players and audience, are often worth every drop of sweat.

Written By admin

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