People have always been drawn to sports for entertainment, exercise, and friendly competition. From ancient accounts of sprinting and wrestling to modern international events like the Olympics and the World Cup—gathering for sporting events is elemental to social life.

In the last century, it has been easier for sports fans to participate on a global scale, with filmed and televised events available for worldwide distribution. Mainstream sports enjoyed by people everywhere include:

1) Football (Soccer)

2) American Football

3) Cricket

4) Hockey

5) Basketball

6) Tennis

7) Volleyball

8) Baseball

9) Rugby

10) Golf

Adventurous, extreme “action” sports such as skateboarding, rock climbing, and surfing are also globally popular.

Let’s explore why it has become essential to translate sports as a niche, and look at three main tips for working with an international sports translation service. Let the games begin!

Why There is a Need for Sports Translation

While it is true that the thrill of the game can bridge communication gaps, what happens when language barriers interfere with other aspects of the industry?

Sports terminology is as fundamentally specific to a particular language as to the sport itself—especially since the vocabulary is commonly related to the sport’s origin country. Phrases mean different things in different countries, and a translation error of a game rule can have a significant (legal or penalization) impact on an individual, a team, or the outcome of a game.

Also, consider the potential billions of annual revenue negatively impacted by improper translation.

Challenges of Sports Translation

Sports terminology is always adapting to accommodate new generations of players and spectators. In some cases, there is no proper context for converting a specific phrase or term, and only a native speaker of the language can truly convey the intended meaning. So, what other types of hurdles should be anticipated?

Understanding the genre – A command of a language’s structure, grammar, expressions, and humor is just the beginning. The sports environment is also known for “having its own language,” which adds to the complexity of translation.

Regional awareness – A country’s culture, habits, and legal regulations require localization mastery for effective translation in the target language.

Sports knowledge – In-depth expertise of the sport itself, and all accompanying terminology and nuances of individual gameplay is mandatory.

Adapting semantics – Sometimes paraphrasing is necessary when a language equivalent is absent. Cultural sensitivity and technical accuracy must be combined to meet this challenge.

Three Tips: What a Sports Translation Service Should Do for You

#1 Ensure Printed and Online Sporting Materials Are Well Received

Your distributed materials should be easy to understand by a wide audience. Smooth communication goes far beyond simple word-for-word translation.

Materials like these need special attention by your translation services team:

1) Announcements

2) Event Schedule

3) Rules and regulations

4) Delay or cancellation contingency plans

5) Recruiting forms

6) Exercise equipment instructions

7) Sporting equipment manuals

8) Substance or practice bans

9) Rules adapted to a particular region

10) Advertising, press releases, publications, and articles

11) Roster changes

12) Athlete/federation/club websites and social media

#2 Thoroughly Prepare in Advance for Sporting Event, Training, or Travel

Have multilingual translators onsite and online for participants—from athletes and fans to event staff, medical professionals, transportation providers, game officials, team representatives, merchandisers, and announcers.

  • Create online access to services with FAQs, contact information, chat or call-center response, and basic terminology guidelines.

Determine what languages will need the most hands-on guidance, and fortify translation staff and services accordingly.

Update social media and websites with any new information.

#3 Invest in a Reputable Translation Company

Camaraderie develops among fans and athletes who share affection for a particular sport. With billions of fans cheering from stadiums, living rooms, and sports bars all over the planet, the thrilling and unpredictable experience of sports is a common language.

Only a highly skilled, creative sports translator can translate sport jargon and retain the literal and figurative balance of phrasing.

When you work with a professional sport translation services company like Future Group, the advantages of communication can go well beyond shared participation.

Future Group: A Trusted Sports Translation Services Provider

For sport translation services, rely on Future Group, a team of linguistic experts who specialize in sport terminology in the native language, no matter the sport, or the language.

Future Group has provided professional translation and localization services worldwide since 1994.