The 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games are coming in August, and I am excited from a translation point of view.
I’ll be honest right up front here and say I’ve never been a huge fan of the Olympics as a spectacle. The sports generally don’t interest me, and the endless attempts by the television networks carrying the games to interest me in the “back story” of every competitor (which generally translates to some kind of drama or sadness, no matter how much of a reach) fall flat as far as I’m concerned. Just about the only aspects of the Olympic games that interest me are the translation services challenges – end those are epic – and the concept of nations that don’t generally get along very well coming together for some good clean competition.
In that sense, I have a little more affection for the Youth Olympic Games, being held this year in Nanjing, China. Because it takes the idea of One World and imprints it on people who might have a chance in coming decades to actually put it into effect: Children.
Second Annual Games
The Youth Olympic Games were initially held in 2007, and this year will be just the second summer version of the games. What’s truly remarkable about the Youth Olympic Games is its concentration not only on competition, but on education, both cultural and athletic. There’s a full program of experts and famous athletes who are there solely to interact with the youth competitors and teach them not just about their chosen sports and competitions, but about their home cultures and other aspects of international life.
It’s a cliché to talk about children being the future, but it’s true nonetheless: Teaching youth who are already shown to be world leaders in the sense of possessing the remarkable talent and work ethic necessary to reach Olympic status lessons in international relations can only serve to bring the world closer together.
The Role of Language Translation
I’m also convinced that being in a situation where they can see language translation in action will be beneficial for the future, because seeing how difficult it is for everyone to communicate might inspire these young people to pursue language studies, or at the very least appreciate the power and necessity of translation services. Considering I see examples every day of adults who don’t appreciate language and translation, having a whole generation of exceptional young people seeing its value first hand excites me a great deal.
Will I watch the games on television? As I said, the actual events don’t interest me very much. If there was a way to watch the language professionals at work – I might tune in! But of course that would likely be a disaster in the ratings, wouldn’t it. I’ll content myself with promoting the games through essays like this.
Image courtesy fivb.org