World Championship2018

View: World Cup 2018 is the Google Translator Championship

Without the application, foreign fans would have to be several times heavier, journalists are sure.

A fan from Mexico at a stadium in Yekaterinburg. Getty Images

During the World Cup 2018, people in Russia were 30% more likely to use the free Google Translate service on smartphones than usual, calculatedin Google.

According to the company, the most popular was the translation from Spanish into Russian and vice versa – it’s not surprising, because Latin American fans were the leaders in the number of tickets purchased. The number of requests for translations between Russian and Arabic increased by 40%. The most common topic of conversation is also obvious: most often in Google Translate phrases were typed, containing the words “World Cup” (increase in the number of requests by 200%), “stadium” (135%) and “beer” (65%).

The study of Education First of November 2017 states that Russia ranks 38 out of 80 in the world ranking of English language proficiency. A relatively low position on the list is associated , among other things, with the closure of many international projects against the backdrop of sanctions and the reduction of cultural ties with the countries of the Anglo-Saxon world. According to a poll of the Levada Center in 2015, 86% of respondents do not know foreign languages, and 71% of respondents have never traveled abroad.

Most likely, without online translators, many fans would not have found a common language with the inhabitants of Russia: one side did not know Russian or English, the second one – of English or another suitable foreign language. Also, similar services made life easier for fans who try to understand the meaning of Russian-language pointers, menus and other texts.

According to Asian journalists, often foreign fans wrote in their native language in Google Translate what they want to say in Russian. Then they showed the smartphone screen to local residents in bars, restaurants, hotels and on the streets. Or they used voice dialing in the application, which allowed a few to speed up the conversation.

The 2018 World Cup does not only take place under the sign of video replay , standard provisions and surprises , but also under the auspices of the Google Google Translator Championship, wrote columnist of the British edition The Guardian Nick Ames, writing about Russian football.

Two pairs sit opposite each other at the same table in a bar on the embankment of the Volga. One is Russian, the second is from Brazil. Quite quickly, they grasp that a common language they have enough only to order beer. Probably, the evening foreshadowed the communication of gestures and constant references to the name of Harry Kane [it is about watching the match England-Colombia – approx. ] .

However, the Russian is coming up with a solution: after a few seconds he dictates to the smartphone the phrase “How many games have you had? I think your team played well with the Serbs, “which translates into the correct Portuguese. Now the gate is open: by the end of the penalty shootout series, live communication is already irrelevant, and the smartphone helps to appoint a meeting in the bar the very next day.

Nick Ames
The Guardian columnist

According to the journalist, online translators saved foreign fans in “thousands” of situations in those places where multilingualism in Russia is not common.

A fan from South Korea needs to extend his stay in the Kazan hotel for another night? Tell it to your smartphone. The waitress in the Samara cafe did not have khachapuri for fans from Costa Rica? Let the application transmit information in the native language of the recipient.

Nick Ames
The Guardian columnist

Ames agrees with the results of Google’s research. The reporter believes that even if to someone such statistics may seem too “dry”, it still confirms one of the most “desired side effects” of the World Cup: representatives of different nationalities have made any effort to spend a good time “getting along” together.

At the same time, the journalist admitted that Google Translate is still far from perfect, because an incorrect translation still causes “involuntary misunderstandings, insults and ambiguity”.

My colleague, who used Google Translate to discuss taxi tariffs in Volgograd, was confused by the offer of a Russian-speaking driver: “If you would like to blow it, it could be less” [blow-blow, blowjob-oral sex]. ] . A taxi driver just wanted to offer to turn off the air conditioner.

Nick Ames
The Guardian columnist

As Ames pointed out, 100 percent accuracy of such translations will substantially bring the situation where different languages ​​are not exactly an obstacle to communication or information detection. At the same time, the journalist drew attention to the reverse side of the process – the study of a foreign language is becoming less and less necessary. He cited data from the UCAS study (British admissions service to universities and colleges), according to which applications from local students to study the courses of other European languages ​​fell by 22.8% over the period from 2012, non-European – by 17.5%.

[Decreasing interest in foreign languages] is, of course, a more serious problem than those faced by a group of fans from Uruguay, who need to take a minibus to Nizhny Novgorod, or English fans who suddenly discovered in many provincial cities of Russia that their language not so international.

Nick Ames
The Guardian columnist
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