The draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup takes place today and as people from every country tune in to see who they’re drawn against, here at Global Lingo we’re wondering just how they’ll all manage to communicate. Football – soccer if you’re American – is a very fast, physical game and we’re sure that not a great deal of conversation goes on during the game.
But what about those incidents where teams claim that a national slur has been used against them, as in the recent playoff game between France and Ireland? Did the French player hurl his insult in English? Or was it in French and the Irish player was multilingual? Or maybe they used Gaelic, which both may be able to understand easily?
Or how about the Zidane World Cup Final incident a few years ago (sorry it’s the French again), when he was allegedly insulted by Italian player Marco Materazzi? Was the insult hurled in French or Italian?
And spare a thought for the poor referee. Let’s say that the final, however unlikely it may seem, is Slovakia against Brazil, and the referee is from Thailand. That gives us Slovak, Brazilian Portuguese and Thai, all in the most pressured game of Football in the world. The eyes of the world are focused on the one moment when there’s a split-second decision required to determine the winner of the game. When the teams surround the referee all screaming their point of view how will the poor fellow work out what’s happening?
I’m sure that even the best interpreters in the world, such as the ones we use at Global Lingo, would struggle in such a heated moment. But maybe if FIFA introduced video replays of incidents then they could ask both captains to go to the touch line with the referee where the interpreters would help each team get there points over in a sportsmanlike way?
One place where professional interpreters and transcribers will be required is at the endless run of press conferences before and after the games. These highly trained professionals will be the ears of the tournament and help us to read all the details and news about one of the greatest sporting tournaments in the world.
So as you sit down to cheer on your team in the summer of 2010 just take a moment to think about the thousands of linguists who are ensuring that you know exactly what’s happening.