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  • Writer's pictureChris

CPD for Sports Translators

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

Anyone working as a translator will, hopefully, be well aware of the concept of continuing professional development (CPD). We know that it’s important to keep our skills and industry knowledge up to date in order to continue providing the best possible translation services.

CPD can take many forms, from formal software courses, to attending industry conferences, to consuming content in your source and target languages, so I thought it would be useful to explain some of the self-directed CPD I do, specifically with regards to sports translation, for other sports translators, new and old. I hope it gives you some ideas you can add to your CPD routine, and I would be very grateful to read any of your ideas I might have missed in the comments.

Watching Sport

This might seem obvious, but to translate sports-related content, it is important to watch those sports on at least a semi-regular basis.

Watching sport is a great way to stay up to date with any new vocabulary that may emerge from evolving tactics or equipment. Not only does watching sport give you exposure to expert analysts’ commentary and discussion, but it also gives you the opportunity to see the theory put into practice and get a real understanding of what it really means.

Furthermore, if you watch sport on a more regular basis, you will be more aware of any larger themes emerging in a season or tournament, making it easier to understand the context of the text or audio you translate over the following weeks and months.

On top of all that, watching sport is, usually, fun, and I think it’s always great when you can combine a bit of learning with something you enjoy.

(All of the above, of course, also applies to listening to sport on the radio etc. if that is your preferred method)

Reading, Watching and Listening to Sports News and Analysis in your Source and Target Languages

Whilst watching sport itself can give you great contextual knowledge and introduce you to commonly used terms, news and analysis are where you’ll be able to really get a sense of the language of sport. As always, it is helpful to consume this content in your source language, so you can be aware of various technical terms and their meaning, and your target language, so you know how to express those technical terms in the best way for your target audience.

Most of the sports translation I carry out is from Spanish to English, so I follow articles, podcasts and videos in both of those languages.

When it comes to news and analysis, I read English language content from providers such as: The Athletic which offers a broad range of content, especially when it comes to football, as well as podcasts; The Guardian’s The Fiver which is delivered as a daily email newsletter every evening; as well as fan-made content for the teams I follow most closely.

For Spanish language content, options include: the El País sports pages for more traditional newspaper articles; La Media Inglesa who cover English football in Spanish with a more modern approach; and, if I’m ever in the mood for a chaotic challenge, there’s always El Chiringuito.

A special mention has to go to the Football Cliches podcast from The Athletic which specifically addresses the linguistic oddities of football, from manager press conferences to commentator outbursts. As a football translator, not only do I find the podcast entertaining, but it also gives me greater awareness of how things should (or shouldn’t) be expressed in English.

Talking and Writing about Sport in your Target Language

Translators are writers, so it stands to reason that writing about sport will serve as good practice when it comes to our translation work. This can be in any capacity: social media, a dedicated blog, or even just chatting with friends. I’m not for a second suggesting you should write 1,000+ word articles on every event you watch (feel free to do so, though!), but, simply put, the more we write about sport, the more easily we’ll be able to find the best words and phrases when it comes to translating sport-related content.

Following Relevant Accounts on Social Media

One of the first things I did when I began working in sports translation was follow the relevant team and tournament social media accounts and, where possible, add these to a list for easy access.

Most of us spend plenty of time on one or other social media platform throughout the day, so following relevant accounts on social media can be a really simple way to gain up-to-date context as a tournament/season progresses, especially if you’re working on one you don’t follow so closely in your free time. If and when your work shifts focus from one tournament/sport to another, you can easily adjust what you’re seeing on social media by creating new lists or following different accounts.

In addition to official channels such as team and tournament accounts, it’s also worth following other writers/journalists - in any of your working languages - to get a broader picture of the biggest talking points at any given moment.

Although most of the examples above regard football in Spanish and English, I hope it’s clear that they can be easily adapted to other sports and language combinations with just a little research.

I’d be really glad to read about your experience with the types of CPD I’ve mentioned here, as well as anything else you do to help develop your sports translation, so please leave a comment or get in touch with me on LinkedIn!

Oll an gwella,


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