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Conducting an interview in Spanish

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Eagleboy, Jul 14, 2007.

  1. Eagleboy

    Eagleboy Guest

    The topic came up the other day at a game I was covering between another writer and I. Namely, he mentioned he has casually spoken in Spanish to various baseball players he's covered in the past, and given that I have a decent background in Spanish, I've started thinking about practically putting that to use.

    Of course, I can see that there are plenty of advantages to being able to speak in Spanish and English to players. But say I actually conduct an interview in Spanish - how would I go about using that in the story? A disclaimer would have to be made at some point, because there might be the tricky issue of a player saying something in Spanish and it getting lost in translation. I might think that "'I was expecting the fastball on the 3-0 count and just drove it over the wall,' Perez said in Spanish" might be awkward for a lot of people.

    Also, are there a lot of writers that do this? I feel I read a fair amount of baseball/soccer stories, but never really notice it. In my opinion, this would do a ton in regards to separating oneself from the competition.
  2. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Just be damn careful and damn sure. A paper I know ran a translation of a quote that, well, wasn't quite right. Or even close to right actually.
    It can cause problems.
  3. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    It's an invaluable tool. Use it.
  4. I don't speak any foreign languages well enough to use them, so I might be talking out of my ass.
    However, I would probably put something toward the top that explains the interview was conducted in Spanish and all quotes were translated by the author.
    Something like that that makes it clear that pertains to the whole story and also gives the readers the knowledge of what actually happened.
  5. danhawks

    danhawks Member

    unless the whole story is about the player's inability to speak English and preference for Spanish, as Dan Le Batard's story about Vlad Guerrero was a few years back, just wrote "so and so said in Spanish" after your first quote and you should be fine. It's the same way some people write "so and so said by phone" or "so and so wrote in an e-mail correspondence"

    Just do your best not to screw up...it's good to find a native speaker to double check the quote if you're unsure.
  6. In Cold Blood

    In Cold Blood Member

    I think that could be a huge assest to your career. . . players who struggle with english might be intimidated conducting interviews in a shaky language.

    interview them in spanish, and you may develop a higher quality working relationship more quickly.

    But as some have mentioned, I'd be extra careful to make sure nothing gets lost in your translation of the quote.

    And I think a short sentence somewhere in the article explaining the quotes are translated is probably appropriate.
  7. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Sirs, Madames,

    I did some magazine work and wrote a book about baseball in the DR circa 85-89. My Spanish is not too shabby but nunca una opportunidad por lo usar en Toronto. Actually did my first radio interview in Espanol. Had a chance to use it for a boxing story a few weeks back. If you're "in country" I think it's a helluva asset--even with those who speak English well. That you make an effort goes a long way in establishing goodwill. Usually I would ask the question in Spanish and I'd get an answer in English. A bit of mix and match. Sounds bad, but somehow it worked. I would tape everything in case quiere ayuda con la tranducion.

    Learning a bit of Spanish just killed my French tho' and how much Spanish do you get to use around hockey rinks?

    Su Modesto Servidor, etc
  8. JBHawkEye

    JBHawkEye Active Member

    Always be careful in the translation.

    My first year of covering minor league baseball, went to interview a guy from the Dominican Republic who had been named to the league's All-Star team, but who didn't speak any English. The team's manager, who spoke Spanish, said he would translate.

    "I'll warn you, though," he said of the player. "He's so dumb I don't think he even speaks Spanish."

    I think of that line every time I see the player's name in a major league box score.
  9. ballscribe

    ballscribe Active Member

    You speak Spanish, and you write about baseball, and this is the first time this has occurred to you?
  10. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    when i covered the cosmos in the nasl in '82, another writer covering the team spoke portugese. he'd speak to the brazilian players in what he would call their "native tongue." i admired him for it, though i'd tease him by asking, "don't we all speak with our native tongue?" ;D ;D ;D
  11. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    I remember a Russian bicyclist going on and on and on and on and on and on *** and the translator coming back with a four-word answer.

    Same translator, another year: She's interpreting for a team manager with the event director and someone else. Manager says something, translator says, "He politely asks you pay his team in cash instead of a check." Well, the guy with the director speaks Russian and says, "Actually, he called you a piece of shit."
  12. John

    John Well-Known Member

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