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Translators the key


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Translators now key

Jul 28 2007 by Chris Bascombe, Liverpool Echo


LIVERPOOL’S trip to Hong Kong brought into focus the importance of a new football phenomenon – the rise of the interpreter.


With the Reds squad now containing more foreign accents than the Main Stand on a match day, translators have become an even more frequent sight at the club than a fresh planning application.


In recent years, Liverpool have been able to call upon their own tried and trusted interpreters for high profile press conferences in England. But in China they were at the mercy of their hosts.


As Fernando Torres and Lucas Leiva barely speak a word of English, the potential for a combination of farce, frustration and, ultimately, comedy was all too clear. We were not to be disappointed.


To offer some form of insight into how it worked, this is how the Torres Press conference proceeded.


Question: Fernando, how are you enjoying life at Liverpool?


Answer (translated): He’s very happy to be at a club with so many players who were his idols.


Question: How many goals do you think you will score this season?


Answer (translated): So many players who were his idols are at the club, so he’s happy to be here.


Question: Does it feel strange to be playing with your idols?


Answer (translated): He’s enjoying very much being with idols.


It was at this point Rafa Benitez, as agitated by the translations as anyone, decided to intervene, pointing out Torres was not saying he had idols in the dressing room at all.


In fact, just about everything the striker did say was misinterpreted, thus explaining the absence of any meaningful interview with the striker on TV or in the newspapers as a consequence.


Undeterred, Liverpool introduced Lucas Leiva to the English media two days later and decided to employ a new interpreter.


Here’s a snippet of how this interview went.


Question: What does Lucas know about English football?


Answer (translated): He says it will take time to adapt and mingle with his new team-mates.


Question: Did Lucas have a particular footballing hero when he was a youngster?


Answer (translated): He’s really looking forward to mingling with the team, but it will take time.


(At this point, yet again, Benitez came to the rescue, informing reporters of the influence of Lucas’ uncle, Leivinho, who once played for Atletico Madrid, on the youngster’s career.)


Question: Lucas, can you tell us about what your uncle said when you asked him about Liverpool?


Answer (translated): All I can say is it will take time in England, but when he adapts and mingles he’s sure he can have some success.


Question: You were talking to Steven Gerrard at the match on Tuesday, what advice has he given you?


Answer (translated): We were mingling. :lol:


Footballers have to be wary what they say to reporters at the best of times.But you had to sympathise with Torres and Lucas, who probably looked at the bemused reactions of their audience (and manager) and wondered what the hell they’d just said.


It will have come as some relief to the duo (and the rest of the squad) they didn’t wake up the next day to read about how they’re in awe of all their team-mates and have spent the last few weeks doing as much ‘mingling’ as possible.


On a more serious point, the problems faced in Hong Kong underline why Benitez now puts so much stress on everyone in his squad communicating in English.


All his players are given language classes and urged to speak to the Press in their adopted tongue – thus removing the possibility of being misquoted.


On this occasion, in the relaxed pre-season environment, the only harm done was to the short-lived career of Liverpool’s Hong Kong interpreting team.



We need more translators like this not less.


Was it ranieri who had a dodgy translator who couldn't in fact speak a word of italian? I think it was a post match interview but it was funny.




Edited by liverbird04
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