The Beautiful Game, Found in Translation

Post date: 29-Oct-2012 08:32:01

It was a sunny September afternoon when I received an email from Nataly Kelly. I had known her mostly from her work with Common Sense Advisory and, except for a few exchanges related to some of her company's industry surveys, we had had little contact. The subject of her email on that day, however, was different. As she mentioned, she and co-author Jost Zetzsche were "working on a book that will be published by Penguin next year on the role of translators and interpreters in society". And they wanted to interview me for a chapter on sport.

"Found in Translation" is now not only a huge success amid the translation and interpreting community, but is also drawing more and more readers from other industries due to their superb writing and compelling depiction of our professions. Fourteen months ago, however, it was just an idea, but nevertheless an idea which thrilled me and which I knew was going to be immensely successful.

What made me even happier was the fact that Nataly and Jost intended to include the beautiful game in a book about translation. As I know from attending several meetings and conferences, sport translation is oftentimes overlooked as a niche market with very low demand, which couldn't be farther from the truth. Therefore, as part of Nataly's and Jost's project to bring translation and interpreting to the fore, I wanted to do my best to show how our professions influence the lives of football fans all over the world, but mainly in Brazil, widely acknowledged as a veritable soccer-mad country.

After some lengthy interviews by email and a long and exciting wait in the run-up to the book launch, I received a complimentary copy in the post, signed by Jost himself. Mr Zetzsche is an internationally acclaimed translation technology guru whom I had the pleasure to meet and speak to while walking from the hotel to the conference venue during the 2011 MemoQfest in Budapest, which leads me to think that perhaps that chance meeting was responsible for their decision to include me in the book. Another proof of the importance of networking.

I've just now finished reading the book and, even though I already knew some of the stories told and characters portrayed by the authors, "Found in Translation" has clearly exceeded my expectations. After all, the book has a different spin — instead of simply writing about translation for translators to help us cope with the common sense of "underappreciation", they write to the general public and show us as qualified and accomplished professionals who are happy to give their contribution to a better world.

Much has been said and written about the book, and you can find excellent reviews by browsing the web — much better than these humble words, by the way. What I can do for now is recommend that you read the book (if you don't know how to find it, write to me) and leave you with the excerpt containing my modest contribution: Soccer Stars in Nightgowns.