Monday, August 6, 2012

Olympic Language Brokering

"The teamwork continues even after the German gymnasts leave the floor.

"Several English-speaking reporters wanted to talk to Oksana Chusovitina, who is competing in her sixth Olympics at 37 – unheard of for a female gymnast. There was just one problem, Chusovitina, who is originally from Uzbekistan, doesn't speak English, and there were no [official] translators available.

"A TV researcher who speaks Russian initially offered to help, only to realise he was needed for something else on the other side of the room. Elisabeth Seitz, her 18-year-old German team-mate, then leaned over and said, 'If you need translating, I can try to help.' She did better than that, translating about five minutes of questions for Chusovitina."

This is a clear example of Adult Language Brokering. The two gymnasts belong to the same community of athletes. But how did Chusovitina know German?

"She moved to Germany in 2002, so her son, Alisher, could be treated there for leukaemia and has lived there ever since."

Gymnast almost lost in translation. Irish Independent, 27 July 2012. The original article is here.

Oxana Chusovitna. Minkus Images.
Elisabeth Seitz. Joern Pollex/Bongarts/Getty Images.


  1. Thank you, Alex, for reacting so quickly.

  2. I agree, unprofessional translation services can really create a Language barrier between you and your client..

  3. I think you've missed the point of this post, Umer, which is that there are situations where a non-professional translator CAN overcome a language barrier.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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