Live Interpretation at the World Cup: How Does It Work?
One of the most popular worldwide events is here, uniting people of all countries and languages!
The World Cup craze has come, and knowing that there were 3.3 million watchers from all around the world in the inaugural match we wondered: how do they keep up with the language demands for such a highly watched, international event?
Let ‘s dive in!
Soccer as a universal language
Many agree that sports are a universal language. If you get the rules, you can easily follow what’s going on without any verbal confirmation.
But certainly, commentators’ insights, press conferences and interviews add to the experience!
And TV companies and online broadcasters know that. Investing money in local commentators, professional translators, and interpreters is crucial to provide their clients with the best service.
Given the wide variety of languages displayed in the World Cup, this could be tricky. 32 countries compete for the trophy of the FIFA World Cup, but many more are watching. To satisfy viewers in different countries, companies have to source a large team of simultaneous interpreters.
Although it is a great challenge, now it is more cost-effective and smooth to cater to different countries. Streaming and fast internet connection enables remote interpreters to work on live events, saving costs and ensuring a great experience from everyone on the globe.
Not only on the field…
The job for commentators, interpreters and translators doesn’t end at the 90 minute mark in each match, the World Cup has a lot of other situations where these professionals are needed.
For the match, mostly every streaming service or TV company hires local commentators for each country, so there is virtually no need for external language services. But if a certain company doesn’t have commentators to back every match, interpreters would be needed to save the day.
In all the other events, interpreters are key to the World Cup experience.
Press conferences, interviews, highlights and more, soccer fans want to experience every moment of the World Cup in their own language.
And in these events, there are a lot of languages involved. Players, coaches, referees, managers, reporters, commentators and more: each of them often speaks their own language and this means that there is a need for multiple interpreters to catch it all. Although there are multilingual athletes and journalists that will change their language to fit the media interviewing them, there is no way they can cater to all the countries watching. This is where sports translators/captioners and interpreters become a high-demand job during such a massive and international event like the World Cup.
Streaming allows translation for every country
In the old days, the only way to listen to a match or an interview in your language was if the interpreter was on-site.
Countries and TV companies had to spend an enormous amount of money sending translators and interpreters to the host country to deliver language-specific content. This meant that there wasn’t content available in every language, because some companies couldn’t afford it.
Luckily technology has changed everything!
In 2022 we don’t have to deal with that problem. Content is available in lots of different languages, not only for the 32 countries participating in the World Cup, but also for watchers all around the world.
And how do they do it? Usually streaming and TV companies have a large team of interpreters in different languages to accommodate their needs. In a live broadcast they will do a voice-over interpreting, but it is also common for translators to work on subtitles for different pieces of content, such as social media posts and videos.
Can technology replace interpreters?
We have come very far with automated translation, but live interpretation is still the preferred one in sports.
Quality, cultural nuances and consistency of human interpreters are hard to match. And with the many languages and events involved in the World Cup, a team of professional and reliable interpreters is key to cater to international viewers.
No doubt that machine translations are very useful in certain situations, but not so accurate in live scenarios, such as the many events of the World Cup. You probably experienced this sometime with automatic subtitles on YouTube or other platforms. They are good, but not always on point.
In sports, the human touch is much needed. With the high stakes for the participant countries and the natural heat of this sport, viewers prefer to experience the World Cup on their own terms.
This is a job for specialized professionals!
Live interpretation is a difficult skill that requires both extensive language awareness and a great understanding of the subject.
For such an important event, translators and interpreters need to have a cultural understanding of the language, use specific lingo and terminology, and keep up to date with the matches.
Also, they are required to study each team and player to ensure an accurate and fast translation. Imagine that in an interview a player refers to someone by his nickname or mispronounces a name, interpreters should catch this fast and interpret accordingly.
As in other sports events, the World Cup requires a high degree of specialization to provide swift and effective translations in every situation.
Thanks to the work of commentators, translators and interpreters this exciting event can be enjoyed by anyone.
The World Cup is an opportunity to connect us all, even if we don’t speak the same language.
We hope you learned something new and are enjoying the World Cup!