Alexandra Boulton

A student of Chinese witnesses the surreal as she acts as sports translator

The World Today Published 15 December 2017 Updated 18 November 2020 3 minute READ

Alexandra Boulton

Undergraduate Student in Chinese, Cambridge University

Nothing in my three years of learning Mandarin had prepared me for this internship: travelling to China with four top National Basketball Association players and their sponsor, China’s biggest sports company, playing a range of roles including translator, interpreter, mediator and go-between, smoothing tension between two clashing corporate cultures.

We kick off in Shanghai, with the unveiling of the line of shoes the players are here to promote, and my first glimpse of the screaming fans the players attract. I have to expand my vocabulary rapidly into the world of basketball and sneakers to keep up with interpreting, which begins with a press conference.

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