How are World Cup players’ names translated?
Published on 16 December 2022 by Jeffrey Wan
World Cup 2022 is closing very soon. While it has been a talking point whether Messi can grab his last chance to win the World Cup, the Chinese translation of players’ names is also widely argued. In particular, Kylian Mbappé from France national team has been the most controversial, due to various versions of translation arising from the French pronunciation of “Mbappé”. As a result, YouTubers Trial & Error made a visit to NOW TV and checked out how they transliterated players names.
During their visit, the staff from NOW TV explained that they transliterated players names into Chinese according to the mother language of the players. In French, the “M” in Mbappé in fact sounds like “hmm”, which is a world away from the old translation of his name, which sounds more like “mac-bap-pé”!
As a matter of fact, there has been long argument whether players’ names should be translated according to their mother language instead of English pronunciation. While it would of course be the most respectful way, it is an uneasy art to balance between aesthetics and accurate pronunciation. Finding native speakers to endorse the translation makes it an even harder job. Perhaps it is the least controversial to translate the name of a former English football player—Drinkwater!