Three keys to football interpreting success

Many a football-loving interpreter will often have harboured dreams of interpreting for their idols, after all, you can’t really ask for much more when, instead of being a real slog, preparation for a forthcoming assignment requires you to be up to date with the latest goings-on in the world of football!

However, what exactly does it take to succeed as a football interpreter? This blog entry aims to offer you an insight into what we at Onuba Communications consider to be the three keys to turning in a man-of-the-match display!

1) Know your football terminology: If you’ve ever listened to a football press conference that has involved an interpreter, you’lllikely have immediately been able to identify whether the interpreter has a good knowledge of the game.

Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that, however good their linguistic skills, football interpreters must have a comprehensive knowledge of the game’s terminology and nuances (the type of knowledge you will never achieve unless football is your main topic of interest) in order to succeed.

This instantly brings to mind interviews in which I as the interpreterwas faced with turns of phrases like ‘a game of two halves’ or ‘it’s a real six-pointer’. Had I not had the benefit of years of passive knowledge, I would have quickly been found out and thecommunication would have ultimately broken down – leading to embarassment all round.

Onuba Comms’ Guillermo Berenguer Ramiro (left) and Nick Aitken on a recent UEFA Nations League interpreting assignment in Gibraltar.

2) Keep a cool head:  It’s vital that the football interpreter is able to work under pressure, given the often high-profile nature of those being interpreted for and the massive media attention that surrounds the beautiful game. In addition, in our increasingly digitalised world, the fact that many clubs now stream their press conferences live only serves to crank up the pressure!

3) Confidentiality: Whilst confidentiality is a principle that interpreters must observe in relation to all information disclosed in any gatherings that are not open to the public, we suggest that it’s particularly important in the football industry on account of the massive media coverage that the sport receives.

The football interpreter is often privy to information which is not intended to end up in the public domain. I have been involved in internal meetings at football clubs in which sensitive information was shared.

An interpreter may typically be given a heads-up on a possible player signing for which their services will be required or may be asked to interpret during medical appointments in which the extent of an injury is revealed.

It is vital that clients are able to trust interpreters not to reveal such confidential information.

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