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Preparing for World Cup 2014: How Brazil Plans to Handle Translation Issues

World Cup Fans
Preparing for World Cup 2014: How Brazil Plans to Handle Translation Issues
on May, 22 2014
World Cup Fans

Image credit: World Cup Brazil Fans taken by koeln_days under Public Domain.

Everyone is now eyeing on the upcoming World Cup 2014 in Brazil. This is considered as one of the most awaited sporting events around the world. In fact, millions of people from different parts of the world are expected to flock Brazil just to have an actual glimpse of the competitions or cheer for their respective countries. As soon as Brazil was declared as the host of the next World Cup, a lot of people have already started booking their tickets and made reservations to avoid cancellations and other problems. The number of people speaking different languages arriving in a country where English is not a lingua franca is among the biggest concerns by FIFA.

Aside from being able to organize the competitions well and treat the delegates with the best services, they are also concerned on how to ensure that all visitors will understand everything that is going on. Portuguese is the official language of Brazil. There are only a few million Portuguese speakers around the world with less than 10 countries using this language as their official language. Therefore, FIFA wants to make sure that delegates and guests will be able to get around Brazil with ease.

World Cup Translation Mishaps

Preparing for translation issues has now become a much bigger endeavor for FIFA officials and the host city as there have been controversial mistakes that took place in the past. In fact, just last March, a translation mistake happened that made Jerome Valcke, the secretary general of FIFA, apologize to Aldo Rebelo, the sports minister of Brazil. In his statement in French, he expressed something that should have meant “to speed up the pace” in English. However, the translation in Portuguese was much stronger and it sounded offensive. It was translated as “give a kick in the butt” and it caused anger from among the Brazilians.

In the 2010 World Cup, several translation mishaps have taken place. From small mistakes in giving directions to guests to huge mistakes during press conferences, a lot of unexpected things happened. One of the biggest mistakes was when a Slovenian team was given a Slovak interpreter during the press conference. Though FIFA was able to change the interpreter immediately, it raised eyebrows from the Slovenian team. It was even worsened when later during the tournament, Andrej Komac, one of the Slovenian players, said “we play to win.” However, it was later translated as “we are going to win.” This made a lot of fans furious.

Minimizing Translation Problems for 2014 World Cup

Aside from renovating stadiums and finishing structures where guests will be housed, the Tourism Ministry of Brazil is also concerned on how to minimize errors in translation. Therefore, they have opened job opportunities for Brazilians who can speak English or other languages to become tour guides and interpreters to guests who can’t speak Portuguese. There are thousands of jobs that were opened and have almost been filled. Translation companies were also tapped to provide assistance. Brazilian business owners and service crews, including taxi drivers and vendors, were also prepared for the World Cup.

Social media will also be utilized during the World Cup to provide assistance to all guests as long as they have access to the Internet. Call centers will also be provided 24/7 in order to ensure that those who need help will be given one. These call centers will cater to major languages such as French, English, Spanish and Russian. The success of handling translation issues during the World Cup will also serve as their parameter on how to prepare for the upcoming Olympics that Brazil is hosting.

Bernadine Racoma

Bernadine is a writer, researcher, professional and multi-awarded blogger and new media consultant. She brings with her a rich set of experience in the corporate world, as well as in the field of research and writing. Having taken early retirement after working as an international civil servant and traveling the world for 22 years, she has aggressively pursued her main interest in writing and research. You can also find Bernadine Racoma at .

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