Changing China

Giant on the move

Argentina to play Siberia as Batista gets lost in translation

August 12, 2008

Argentine journalists were startled to learn that their team would be playing a match against Siberia at the Olympic football tournament. At least, that is what the official translation said.

Coach Sergio Batista, speaking ahead of a game against Serbia, looked on it utter bewilderment as one interpreter attempted to translate his answers from Spanish into Chinese and another then tried to translate the Chinese version of his answer into English.

Unsurprisingly, the final version invariably bore no relation whatsoever to the original, rending the whole exercise a waste of time.

The procedure went like this:

Argentine journalist asks question. Batista answers. The first interpreter translates the question from Spanish into Chinese. The second translates  from Chinese into English. Then the first interpreter translates the answer from Spanish to Chinese. Then the second translates from Chinese into English.

At one stage, the first translator had to ask Batista to explain his answer. Batista, his mind obviously elsewhere, forgot what he had said and had to ask the reporter to repeat the question.

It took more than 30 hair-pulling, excruciating minutes to extract no more than six answers from Batista.

And, like most coaches, he didn’t say anything interesting in any case.


The thing is that there is nothing much written in the blogs about soccer, what is written in the blog is mostly about the translation of languages.. (from Spanish to Chinese and then from Chinese to English)

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