Words from the Wardrobe
Women dressed with fitness apparel to ilustrate the topic Translation for Sports

Translations for Sports

This weekend it’s the third El Clásico of the season. ⚽️

El Clásico is the name of any football match between rivals FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. 

Initially referring to competitions held in the Spanish championship (La Liga), the term now includes every match between the clubs, such as those in the UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey.

Although I come from Sabadell in Catalonia, about 20 km north of Barcelona, ‘soy madridista’. 🤫

Not that I follow football passionately, but Real Madrid is my team.

I also like Athletic de Bilbao. 

I don’t exactly know why, but they inspire affection in me.

And my third team, after living in Torremolinos for the past 17 years, is Málaga. 

Although they have hard times. 

¡Vamos, Málaga!

In basketball, my team is Unicaja Málaga, 2023 Copa del Rey winner and an excellent example of the David versus Goliath fight.

I’m a big sports fan and fortunate to work with some of the world’s leading brands.

Mostly in fitness, running/athletics, football and tennis.

But I like other sports and would love to translate them. 

It’s an exciting way to learn more about them!

When we think of sports translation, we often focus on sports apparel for e-commerce sites.

And for a good reason!

Translation and localization for e-commerce present vast opportunities in the global marketplace. 

It allows businesses to reach more customers, build their brand presence, and increase sales.

But many other content types need translation, from press releases to blog posts, marketing campaigns and internal documentation.

Mobile device screens with sports stars and sport shoes

One of my highlights last year was the privileged position of working on a project that allowed me to know who would win the Ballon d’Or before it was announced.

The Ballon d’Or is an annual football award presented by the French news magazine France Football since 1956 to the best men’s footballer of the year.

Since 2018, there’s also a Ballon d’Or for the best women’s footballer.

Of course, many suspected who would be the eventual winner in the men’s category.

The Real Madrid player Karim Benzema. 

Still, I felt very honoured to translate the press release from one of the brands sponsoring the winner’s team.

Watching your translation in the media is a great feeling, even if it’s only bits and pieces used to make a short news post!

Another project I enjoy a lot is the translation of storyboards for ad films.

Part of the brand sponsoring agreement with an athlete implies using the athlete’s image in the brand campaigns.

However, not all athletes (and their teams) have enough language skills to understand well what the campaign is about.

I’ve translated several ad scripts for the personal team of a sports star.

These documents usually include information about the setting, the different shots, the apparel the star will be wearing in each scene, the sentences they’ll have to say and many other details.

It’s like translating a film script!

Well, it’s a film. 

A short film.

But a film, after all 😉.

Marketing translations and sports

I’m the Lead Linguist for Spanish for a sports brand.

My function is to link the translation vendor and the marketing and product departments. 

Sometimes, brands need these functions because:

Not all translators have experience in translating marketing texts and campaigns.

And not all people working in marketing departments know linguistic and cultural nuances.

I review most content for landing pages, websites, PPC campaigns, social media campaigns and product descriptions before they go live.

I also update the Spanish style guide and termbase to document everything that needs to be considered from one campaign to another.

Recently, I had a meeting with the Spanish translation vendor to explain how we approach marketing translations with this client.

Besides keeping brand consistency, my job is to help translators improve and align with the brand, not audit them and tell them off. 

I gave them tips for improving creativity without doing an entire transcreation job.

Clients sometimes are too focused on creativity, but the truth is that some texts allow for more creativity than others.

The most crucial thing in a marketing translation is that it sounds natural and that it shows the essential features of the product or the campaign.

Otherwise, the translation can confuse the reader and won’t meet its purpose: buy, subscribe, participate in a contest or encourage them to practise sport, for example.

Would you like to bring your sports brand closer to Spain’s fans? 

Contact me.

See you for the next post!

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