SPORT AND TRANSLATION: INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
Bristol, UK, 29th and 30th May 2014
Our two day conference brought to a close a year-long programme of events on Sport and Translation at the University of Bristol. The interdisciplinary character of the conference drew together scholars from various fields in the Humanities, giving a unique insight on how sport is translated across cultures. We received international contributions from Austria, Brazil, Denmark, Emirates, Italy, Spain and Turkey, and from our colleagues elsewhere in Britain.
|Photo: Erin Hawkey/Gloria Lanci|
We kicked off with the lecture of Professor Gertrud Pfister (University of Coppenhagen), one of Europe’s leading sociologists of sport. She took us on a delightful reflexion on how sport and translation have been intertwined throughout history, from the meanings of sport in semiotics to the Western practices of physical educational and its construction of rules and terminology.
Dr David Goldblatt (University of Bristol and De Montfort University) was our keynote speaker for the evening, which took place at Hamilton House in Stokes Croft, a neighbourhood well known as a hub for art and music, with independent shops and alternative cafes and bars. David provided an involving and engaging talk based on his most recently published book Futebol Nation: A Footballing History of Brazil.
The conference unfolded in five panels with 16 presentations that discussed the practice of sport translation (practitioners, ethics and everyday practices), its historical aspects and its social context.
The papers in the first panel Translation and its Practitioners discussed the problems, challenges and strategies of interpersonal and social communication in sports. Professor Eva Lavric (University of Innsbruck) presented the results of a comprehensive research project among multilingual football clubs in Austria, Germany and Italy; Dr Guzde Begum Akuzum (University of Istanbul) analyzed the role of the sports interpreter studying international sports events in Turkey and Helena Martin (Complutense de Madrid) looked at the translation of sports ideologies through the use of the term “tiki-taka” in describing Spanish football tactics.
In the second panel Sport and Translation and its Ethics the presenters dealt with the contentious issues of ethical and non-ethical practices in translation. Dr Christophe Declerc (University College London) reflected on the use of machine translation as ‘doping’ or illegal practice and Dr Kirsty Heimerl-Moggan (University of Central Lancashire) looked at the work of qualified sports interpreters, linguists and sports reporters, discussing their practices and their adherence to a code of ethics.
The third panel Sport and Translation and Everyday Practices brought a diverse array of research and case studies. Dr Roger Baines (University of East Anglia) investigated the relationship between power and translation in the work of interpreting for elite migrant footballers in UK. Dr Erika Giogianni (University of Innsbruck) analysed the role of multilingualism and multiculturalism in the success of European football teams. Elena Balcaite (University of Gloucestershire) studied relations between spirituality and sports fan ship among supporters of England’s national football team and Lithuania’s basketball team. Ana Suarez-Vidal (University of Bristol) with Dr Susana Ladra González (Universidade Da Coruña) examined how translation is used in Twitter by sportsmen/women, sports media and their followers.
The fourth panel The History of Sport and Translation placed sport and translation in its historical perspective. Dr Christian Schwartz (University of Sao Paulo) investigated reports on football in the Argentinian 1920’s press as narratives of the consolidation of a national language and football style. Dr David Frier (University of Leeds) analysed the translation of ideologies in the building of the Lisbon National Stadium in 1940s Portugal. Professor David Wood (University of Sheffield) examined how language conveyed meanings in sports in Latin American literature of the 1910s and 1920s. Dr Maurizio Viezzi (University of Trieste) presented the challenges of translating and interpreting modern history athletics lexicon.
The fifth panel The Social Context of Sport and Translation approached social interfaces between translation and sports. Dr Jehan Zitawi (University of Abu Dhabi) examined the linguistic and cultural challenges facing Arab sports translators and interpreters. Dr. Francisco Meledandri (University of Bari) discussed how sports are translated using digital technologies, in particular online social media among football fans. Dr Gloria Lanci and Dr Matthew Brown (University of Bristol) reflected on the politics of sports, and the significance of translations, in the origins of football in Sao Paulo.
The conference offered a great opportunity for networking in a new and rapidly expanding field of cross-disciplinary research. We were very pleased to receive our visitors to the University of Bristol and learn from their experiences. The discussions over sport and translation continued beyond the conference room and into our social reunions. Most of the participants established new links which have continued to develop since the conference.
I am grateful that I could take part of this conference, being part of the organization team and as a presenter. I think the most interesting aspect of the debates was to reflect on global contemporary issues: how translation impacts the way we view international sports events and understand international sports news; how sport could constitute a ‘universal language’; how the understanding of foreign cultures and societies are largely shaped by sport practices and through them are translated and interpreted.
Taking place just two weeks before the FIFA World Cup in Brazil it was inevitable that football, among other sports, was at the centre of our informal talks! But this only served to further enhance the friendly atmosphere that pervaded the event. I found it particularly useful to be able to engage in those conversations with academics just before the “biggest single-event sporting competition in the world” that, according to the FIFA website, would “build a better future through a variety of ways”. We need to understand the process of translation in order to comprehend the effects sporting events can have on how we perceive our place in the world.
Dr. Gloria Lanci
This conference was supported by the University of Bristol Research Strategy Fund, the School of Modern Languages and the Bristol Institute for Research in the Humanities and Arts (BIRTHA).
The organizing committee was Matthew Brown, Jonah Bury, John Foot, David Goldblatt, Gloria Lanci, Mike O’Mahony, Carol O’Sullivan, David Perkins, Arismende da Silva and Ana Suárez-Vidal.
We are indebted to Hannah Blackman for her peerless administrative support.