“Never underestimate your need for help in foreign countries,” says Bob Woolf in his book, Friendly Persuasion. Bob is a well-known negotiator for top sports and entertainment figures who travels all over the world negotiating contracts for teams, commercials, and performances. For him experienced interpreters have proven to be crucial intermediaries for negotiations in foreign countries. Bob notes that not only is the language different, but “the maze of strange criminal, civil, and tax laws can drive you crazy if you negotiate them blindly.”
Sports are more international than ever before, not just in recruiting sports figures from different countries for teams, but also in providing play-by-play interpretations on the field. Let’s say 6′ 8″ basketball forward, Terry Driscoll, negotiates a contract with a team in Italy to play with them every Sunday for one year (which he did in 1969). He or his agent would use interpreters to help with negotiating the contract in Italian, understanding the spirited Italian character, and interpreting Italian contract rules and regulations. Terry would want to have interpreters on the field, too, for the benefit of his friends, family, and former teammates and future coaches in the United States, so they could watch him play. If this were today, Dialog One could provide those interpreters.
Now look at the Olympics. Japan is slated to host the Olympics in 2020. They are already preparing interpreters to cover the games, with seven language colleges teaming up to train them. In the experience of twenty year old Makoto Kashimura, interpreter for the 2014 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Tokyo, “The job required me to reason with foreigners to make them abide by operational rules.” In addition to teaching prospective interpreters to speak sports in another language, the schools will teach them the rules of each sport, so they can stand their ground when interpreting to passionate players from other countries.
Not only do sports interpreters negotiate contracts and provide play-by-plays on the field, but they are crucial to organizing the games, choosing teams, and arranging transport and accommodations for players. They’re also key witnesses when foreign players are injured on the field. The Spanish word for “big toe” is the same as their word for “thumb,” which a good interpreter will translate correctly to medical personnel, saving them the trouble of treating the wrong injury. Contact Dialog One if you are looking for a language expert for your next sports event.