Football

Lost in translation but found in Google – fans find ways to talk to hosts

To get around language barriers in Russia, World Cup fans from around the globe have been actively using the Google Translate applications on their phones. Roselle Chen reports.

SOCHI + SAMARA + KAZAN, RUSSIA (Reuters) – Soccer might be the most universal language on the planet.

But when it comes to deciphering the Cyrillic alphabet or communicating with locals at the World Cup in Russia, the love of the game is sometimes not enough.

To get around language barriers in Russia, World Cup fans from around the globe have been actively using the Google Translate applications on their phones.

BRAZIL SUPPORTER FROM POÇOS DE CALDAS, GUSTAVO,

“It’s very difficult to understand the Cyrillic alphabet in Russian. So we use Google all the time and ask the people what they are trying to serve or to eat.”

Some foreign fans type what they want to say in Russian in their native language and show the translation to locals.

Others use the app’s voice function that allows them to virtually speak to people in other languages.

Russians have also been caught up in the craze.

TOURIST LIVING IN NEW YORK, TRISHA,

“We were at the souvenir shop in Vladimir and the lady had her computer on so she would type her Russian words and then ask me to look at her screen to read the English translations.”

COLOMBIA FAN, JUAN DAVID LONDONO,

“One of our friends wanted to tell the woman in a shop that Russian women were very beautiful.”

COLOMBIA FAN, DAVID GONZALEZ,

“But when Google translated, it said ‘old women are very beautiful.'”

Although the app can sometimes produce inaccurate or awkward translations, fans say it’s significantly enhanced their World Cup experience.