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Translation, Globalization and the Elite Migrant Athlete

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Abstract

In professional sports, processes of globalization have triggered an upsurge in mobile elite migrant athletes who acquire status and power through their talent and increasing wealth. In elite football competitions in particular, this has led to a newly constructed power dynamic between host country institutions and elite athletes that is observable in translation and interpreting events. The linguistic diversity created by the presence of elite migrant athletes in national football leagues has created a need for translation and interpreting in sporting contexts, a need further defined by the extent to which these athletes have acculturated to the culture and language of the host environment, or are dependent on translation and interpreting to communicate in their professional environment. The events examined in this paper demonstrate how newly constructed power relationships between elite migrants and host institutions are realized in translated and interpreted commu­nication. Through two case studies of Latin American footballers in the English Premier League, the article analyzes the attempted resolution of misunderstandings of communication arising in the course of play and involving translation and interpreting. Negotia­tions over intended meaning are lent a particular complexity by the power-through-wealth of these particular athletes, challenging the binary positionings of established-insider/migrant-outsider and acculturated/assimilated migrants.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)207-28
Number of pages21
JournalThe Translator
Volume19
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Peer-reviewedYes

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