The Linguist

The Linguist 53,3

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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Page 17 of 35

18 The Linguist JUNE/JULY FEATURES STAR TURN Andrew Simpson interprets for French international footballer Moussa Sissoko as he arrives at the Newcastle United Training Centre (right); and is given a tour of the gym facilities by the team masseur (above) Interpreting for the Premier League isn't all glamour. Andrew Simpson reports from the dressing room I nterpreting in the footballing environment is a challenge, passion and pleasure in every way. The role requires a variety of skills, not all of which can be taught on postgraduate programmes due to the particularity of the setting. It also raises a host of ethical issues, as the work is often at odds with the accepted role and principles of an interpreter as outlined in academic literature. Indeed, the old adage of the interpreter as a glass wall can be impossible. I was given my first assignment for Newcastle United in January 2013, when they acquired five French players, adding to the strong French-speaking contingent at the club. I had long been a football fan but had no previous professional experience in the fields of sports and media. Without an understanding of the football setting and deep knowledge of the terminology in both French and English, it would have been impossible to perform in such an atypical setting as the tunnel of a football stadium. After the match, some 52,000 fans are in rapture – a noise that resonates through the tunnel. Add to this the sound of players and technical teams talking in the background, and the media foray as photographers and journalists clamour to speak to the players, and it becomes a challenging environment in which to listen to a media interview. A dictaphone is thrust in your face, while a footballer – often in a rush to dispose of his media commitments – answers questions about the match using football jargon. It is a fast-paced setting and the interpreter has to keep up. There is no time to struggle for correct terminology, and there is no place for dictionaries and other resources. That first day in the tunnel, as a cold wind bit at my note-taking fingers, memory retention had never seemed such an important and life- saving skill. Following the press interviews, the action moves from the noisy tunnel to a press conference set up for the broadcast media. This requires a vastly differing approach, using the consecutive mode. Questions and answers are more lengthy, and the interpreting needs to be accurate and complete. Although this is a more typical setting for a legal conference interpreter, here the microphones and cameras are turned on you. There is one take and one take only, so a flawless interpretation is required, with no stuttering, mistakes or lengthy pauses. It is not for the faint-hearted, yet it is one of the most rewarding settings in the sports sector because you get to see and hear your work on local, national and international media. This can also lead to work, as potential clients begin to recognise you as a reliable source. The ability to provide on-the-spot 'broadcast-ready' interpreting is a skill that is worthy of some recognition in postgraduate interpreter training programmes, but it is little- taught in my experience. I had not benefitted from any media training, and I believe this is the case for the majority of interpreters entering the sports arena for the first time. The main problem is nerves, which can lead to stuttering and minor reformulations. This is common for interpreters in any setting, but it A League of its own

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