Marketing Translation: The Muscle Power Behind the Olympic Games

Ever wonder what was the most-watched event in US television history?  No, it had nothing to do with JFK’s assassination or the final episode of The Sopranos, though these shows did include shocking and suspenseful moments.  The correct answer is the Summer 2012 London Games, when NBC Olympics and Facebook, including Instagram, first joined forces and created quite a stir in the field of marketing translation.  Yes, the goal was to reach a wider audience, but the collaboration between these corporations also translated into  big financial rewards.  The marketing giants behind the upcoming Games in Sochi hope to continue the trend.  Expectations are high that an even bigger wave of excitement and spending will ensue.  Considering that Comcast is now the sole owner of NBC, one thing is certain -- the muscles behind the marketing of the Olympics have suddenly gotten larger.  So what does all that mean for the business of language translation?  For starters, the need for better language providers.

Everyone involved expects this year’s Olympics to draw bigger audiences, receive more primetime coverage, and provide better services for Olympic fans.  Of course, bigger profits are part of the picture, too.  To make it all possible language translation will play a pivotal role.  The trend is good for all businesses to pay attention to.  After all, as Dorothy once said in the Wizard of Oz, “We’re not in Kansas anymore!”  It doesn’t matter if you’re selling shoes or sports your market is the world.

As the executives at Comcast, NBC, Facebook, and Instagram flex their biceps, the world will be watching – and hopefully, participating in the dialogue.  In the process, you will discover that the entire universe suddenly seems smaller and more accessible.  In no small way, that will be possible thanks to the behind-the-scenes efforts of general language translators, specialized marketing translators, and specific product translations.  The great side effect of all this work is to broadcast a premier sports event that is culturally and socially understanding despite a multitude of linguistic differences.  Considering the spirit in which the Games were conceived, it’s a perfect fit.

You’re invited to participate.  So open up your Facebook account and start “liking” some of those Olympic Pages (The Olympic Games and Sochi 2014 Winter Games are good places to start) and then grab a comfy seat on Thursday February 6 – that’s right, the night before the Opening Ceremony – to watch the first-ever primetime coverage of some of the newest Winter Games’ events, including snowboard slopestyle, which features two-time Gold medalist Shuan White.  No matter what language you speak, join in the fun and conversation.  For more info, go to  (And, more on those 12 new Olympic events in our next blog!)

Categories: Culture & Diversity, Events, Language Translation & Interpretation, Olympics and Language, Language Interpretation, Language Translation

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