Sport translations enable sports companies and international federations to create accurate multilingual content

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games is only months away and anyone interested in language processing and translation technology is keen to see what enhancements Artificial Intelligence will bring to sport translations … and help the Japanese people interface better with the rest of the world.

Perhaps the biggest test for AI in the translation industry

Over the last few years, Japan’s Institute of Information and Communications Technology has been creating small translation devices for foreign tourists visiting Japan. These devices are able to translate text into 31 languages. They have voice recognition into and out of 16 languages.

But will these native devices be accurate enough for foreign visitors? They will not be dealing with sports broadcasting and sports translations. In fact, their accuracy is still to be known: we will have to wait until 2020 and see. The presumption is that JIIC’s devices will be good enough to assist visitors around Tokyo and to their transport points, stadiums and venues and popular tourist sites. Translating sport events is another matter

However, other language areas may be difficult to manage because sports jargons, just like the legal and medical and technical sector, has plenty of its own unique phrasing and terminologies. Even a sports translation expert will have to verify terminology when speaking about rugby, football, waterpolo, judo or cycling – the rules, players, and scoring define different actions, reactions and events.

Accurate sport translations for many international federations will be a big challenge in Tokyo 2020

International sports translations and branding … right

Sports logos are everywhere and they are easy to recognise: the Nike swoosh or the Adidas trefoil can be spotted in any country and no translation is needed. However, when it comes to global sports marketing, big name brand campaigns can be really affected by they way they sound in other languages.

The Chinese translation of the Nike brand name sounds ‘Nai Ke’. If you don’t know Chinese, here’s some news for you: it works very well because both the English and Chinese sound identical in this case. The Chinese literal translation means “Enduring and Preserving” – which conveys solid company culture and values. This looks like a perfectly well thought out sports translation!

Watch out! Even the best translators can get it wrong sometimes

But marketing special edition lines is very different. When the same brad (Nike) released a pair of special edition trainers with ‘Fa’ on the left shoe (which means “getting rich” in Chinese) and ‘Fu’ (meaning “fortune arrives”) on the right, sports translators and marketeers braced themselves for success. Unfortunately, when you put them together in Chinese “Fa” and “Fu” translate as “getting fat”. LoL.

Another example of bad sports translations happened in the mid-1990s when Reebok created the Reebok Incubus – a running shoe designed specifically for women. But an incubus was a demon in male form who, according to mythological and legendary traditions, sought sleeping women in order to engage in sexual activity with them during their sleep.

All these types of errors could have been avoided. One way around this problem is to use reserved words and glossaries.

A glossary is a company list of standard terms in a source language – words and phrases that must be treated by the translator and translation agency in a certain way.

A sports good company will be safe in the knowledge that “Just Do It”, for example, will never be translated with any other type of innuendo. Specialist sports translators can apply glossary rules taking care of complicated industry-specific terminology, verify double meanings in their languages. A glossary is a database that works across all documents and format types, ensuring standard use job after job and document after document.

Translation and language technology helps sports translations

Having a glossary before starting a long-term translation project, particularly in the field of sports translations is the best recommendation we can give translation buyers. Glossaries never end and, thanks to our Cor translation technology, it is made instantly available to translators working for Pangeanic at any location. If you cannot provide a glossary, a good translation company should be able to create a customer glossary by analysing previously translated files and using custom-built tools to extract a list of your least and most frequently used words.

Whatever the industry specialism, Pangeanic will assemble the right translation team to help achieve your global ambitions. We have worked for sports federations and international sports organizations across the world.

Whether you need translations for your research project, for your sports products, for your legal terms and conditions, contract negotiations, or simply to translate your website into popular languages, remember that translations are a simple and cost-effective way to reach more customers in a scalable ways and sell more of your products and services worldwide.

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