Insights January 18, 2021

The language(s) of football – your new translation career?

By Living Word

New year, new you? If you’re looking for a new job as a linguist, we’ve got a suggestion for you: football translator! Yes, you heard that correctly – it’s a proper profession. Here’s what it is and what it takes to become one.

Since the world of translation is big and the range of subjects and industries it covers is vast, specialising in a certain field can be a good way to get more work and exposure as a translator. And as the popularity of football is still growing in an increasingly global and connected world, football translators and interpreters are in high demand.

What football translators do

Let’s take the Premier League as an example here: many, if not most, professional players playing for Premier League clubs come from other countries, where English isn’t the first language. As such, the need for translation and interpretation services is probably quite obvious – even more so if instead you look at the professional football leagues in countries where English is not the first language. And let’s not forget that players sometimes only stay at a club for a couple of seasons, before moving to another country. Learning an entirely new language every time might prove difficult, so using a translator is most certainly the easier option.

Football translation is a broad speciality, with translators required for everything from writing autobiographies to interpreting press conferences, inaugurations and live awards ceremonies, as well as transcribing documentaries and translating interviews, among many other tasks. In other words, football translators and interpreters facilitate communication between players, teams and media organisations as well as fans.

What it takes to become a football translator

Naturally, football translators need to know the sport inside out. They need to know the industry lingo, a team’s background, the players’ nicknames, the rumours and gossip, and much, much more. They must be able to understand different accents, transcribe cultural references correctly and accurately, and understand structural differences and contrasting meanings in languages. And while football translators are often needed at press conferences and awards ceremonies, they can sometimes also be seen as spokespeople and, as such, need to know how to handle local media as well as how to be confident and professional in front of a large audience.

If you’ve got what it takes and you’re a footie devotee, go for it. It might just be your dream job.