The importance of interpreting in the media Industry

Subtitling and voiceover are the language services most commonly associated with the media industry, and while they do make up a healthy portion of the language services procured by media clients, they aren’t the only ones! Interpreting also plays a vital role in removing the language barrier in media consumption. Media interpreting has become a part of our everyday life, although we may not realise it. To show how ever present it is, let’s delve into two areas where interpreting & media go hand in hand: sport and travel media.


Sport is one of the clearest examples of a multilingual team working in collaboration to achieve a shared goal. And sport is an area with one of the greatest media interests. As such, media organisations cannot depend on a sportsperson knowing every language in the room of a press conference, this is where interpreters step in.


Focusing specifically on football, let’s say a new signing arrives in the UK from France without a word of English. They’re a marquee player and UK media outlets are keen to know the player’s first thoughts since moving to their new club. The problem? The player doesn’t speak English. The interpreter’s job, therefore, is to make sure that nothing is lost in translation, and that the player’s true thoughts are reflected, as well as being prepared for the unexpected. Football interpreter, Marc Joss, knows this all too well, as he was brought up onto the stage to interpret for Dimitri Payet when he was asked to speak after winning “Hammer of the Year” for West Ham back in 2016. Joss remarks,“The fact Payet whispered each sentence into my ear when we were on stage at a posh London hotel in front of more than 1,000 people certainly made for unusual interpreting conditions.”

media interpreting at press conference

Probably the most recent and well-known example of an interpreter assisting with media duties is former Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa, who became known for conducting media appearances in his native Spanish, even after gaining a level of English, from his arrival in 2018 up until his departure in February 2022. This went against the grain of a non-English speaking manager being expected to give more press-conferences in English, the longer they stayed in the job. Bielsa, however, was focussed on the idea he was presenting – and did not want language to provide a barrier to how he wanted to communicate.

For Bielsa, this went beyond the media duties and an interpreter was often required when he wanted to communicate intricate tactical ideas to his players during trainingThis ensured there was no doubt in what he expected from his players, and that language did not prove to be a roadblock to their progress.

Travel shows

Everybody has a different reason for wanting to sit down in front of the television or their favourite streaming service in the evening. For some, they just want to relax. Others want to learn and be informed of current events. And some people want to escape, often through the means of travel shows. Travel shows teach us vast amounts about new cultures and customs, all through the eyes of a familiar face.


media film crew

The truth, as with all media, is that the team is so much bigger than who is in front of the camera. There are camera operators, script writers, and especially for travel shows, local guides. They also have another name – fixers. Fixers help to sort permissions, suggest shoot locations, and act as interpreter between the presenter and local people. The truth is, without these fixers, then travel shows wouldn’t display the same level of cultural sensitivity or cross-cultural exchange that enthrals millions every year. It’s a case of the language barrier being broken in the best way, helping many to expand their worldview through the words of those who, without interpreting, would not be understood by the consumer.


At Dialogue, we take pride in removing the language barrier between speakers through our simultaneous, consecutive, remote and British Sign Language interpreting services. Our dedicated project management team are on hand to talk through the steps, and how they can be of benefit to your company. If you would like to learn more about our interpreting services, why not get in touch with us today?


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