Cricket’s universal language: celebrating diversity at the ICC World Cup 2023

Written on 17 November, 2023

As the Cricket World Cup 2023 nears its finale in India, it’s not just the sport that captures the world’s attention but also the rich tapestry of languages and cultures it weaves together. Cricket is more than just a game, it is a universal language which bridges linguistic and cultural differences.

The role of multilingual commentary

Commentary in cricket plays a crucial role in connecting the game with its global audience. Renowned commentators like Harsha Bhogle and Michael Holding have mastered the art of blending English with local idioms, making the game relatable and preserving its spirit across different linguistic groups. Their skilful narration goes beyond mere translation, capturing the nuances and emotions of the game and turning it into a truly immersive experience for audiences around the world.

ICC World Cup 2023 translation

Source: https://www.icc-cricket.com/video/2888020

Cricket and cultural significance

In many countries, like India for example, cricket is more than just a sport, it’s a source of national pride and cultural identity. The phrase ‘howzat’, a universal appeal in cricket used by fielding teams to ask the umpire for a dismissal, goes beyond linguistic barriers and captures the drama and excitement of the game. It’s not just a question posed to the umpire, it’s an expression of hope, anticipation, and camaraderie that unites fans and players alike. In this context, translation isn’t just about words but about conveying the essence of these cultural phenomena, which are deeply embedded in the game of cricket.

The multicultural origins of cricket terms

The language of cricket is a colourful mix of multicultural influences, each term reflecting a different aspect of the sport’s international appeal. Consider the quintessentially English ‘googly’, a brainchild of English cricketer Bernard Bosanquet: a deceptive ball that seems to turn one way but goes the other, the googly symbolises cricket’s unpredictable and strategic nature.

Another curious term used in cricket is ‘maiden over’, which refers to a set of six balls in which no runs are scored, a cherished achievement for a bowler.

Beyond these, phrases like ‘dibbly dobbly’, a whimsical term referring to slow, unthreatening bowling, and ‘jaffa’, denoting an exceptionally well-bowled ball, add a layer of colloquial charm to cricket’s terminology. These terms, often coined by the players and commentators themselves, have become ingrained in cricket’s vernacular, each carrying its own flavour and history.

This quirky and unique vocabulary is not just a collection of linguistic artefacts, it stands as a testament to cricket’s global journey. It represents how the sport has evolved, from a game played on village greens in England to a sport that captivates millions across the world. In every ‘googly’ bowled and every ‘silly mid-on’ fielded, lies the echo of cricket’s diverse and inclusive spirit.

Cricket records and the translation imperative

When it comes to cricket records and statistics, accurate translation is vital in ensuring that achievements and milestones can be universally understood. The International Cricket Council (ICC) plays an essential role in maintaining the integrity of these records, so that fans and professionals alike can compare and discuss stats among themselves.

ICC World Cup 2023: cricket and translation in a gist

For a global event like the ICC World Cup 2023, several types of content and documents may require translation, in order to cater to a diverse international audience. Some commonly translated materials include:

• Match schedules and fixtures: Ensuring that match schedules and fixtures are available in a range of languages allows fans worldwide to seamlessly follow the tournament without encountering language barriers.

• Official documents: Translating essential documents such as rules, regulations, guidelines, codes of conduct, and official communications ensures clarity and understanding for all involved parties.

• Press releases and news updates: Making news updates and press releases available in multiple languages keeps media outlets and global fans informed about the latest tournament developments.

• Social media content: Adapting social media posts, tweets, and shared content across platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., engages a broader audience and promotes the event internationally.

• Marketing and promotional material: Translating brochures, posters, advertisements, and promotional content attracts diverse audiences and fosters greater participation.

• Broadcast commentaries and subtitles: Providing multilingual commentaries or subtitles during live broadcasts enhances the viewing experience for audiences whatever language they may speak.

• Merchandise and product information: Offering information about official merchandise and associated products in different languages helps fans understand and makes it easier for them to purchase items.

• Ticketing information: Ensuring that ticket details, instructions, and terms and conditions are available in multiple languages makes it easier for fans from different countries to buy tickets.

• Hospitality and event services: Providing guides, event details, and information about local services in various languages helps international visitors to find their way around and enjoy their experience during the tournament.

world cup 2023

Uniting a global community

The World Cup is more than a tournament; it’s a celebration of a global community brought together by their love of cricket. It’s a time when translation services come to the fore, enabling fans from different linguistic backgrounds to engage in discussions, follow news updates, and share cricket-related content, including memes from different languages.

At Surrey Translation Bureau (STB), we understand the pivotal role that language plays in connecting the world through sports. As the Cricket World Cup and other prestigious sporting events continue to captivate audiences worldwide, the need for accurate and culturally resonant translations becomes increasingly important.

Contact us now to discuss your sports translation needs and learn how we can help you reach a wider global audience.

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