Roller derby may be primarily written and announced in English but here at the World Cup we’ve been working hard to provide live commentary in as many alternate languages as possible.
We speak to four announcers who have been part of the alternate language team.
“I’ve played roller derby for three years and eighteen months ago my league, Sailor City Rollers, organised a tournament and they wanted someone to describe what was happening. They tried to invite people from other places but they didn’t know the rules and how it works, so because I was injured I did it and everybody loved it.
“The Argentinian captain told me there was a place for an announcer here and said I should apply but I thought ‘I know they won’t call me because I’m from Argentina and nobody cares about Argentina’. I applied anyway and in November, on my birthday, they told me I was selected. I was so happy.
“My mum won a trial against the government and won a lot of money, which she told me to use on the trip. Now I am the first derby announcer in the Spanish world. In no other association is there a Spanish announcer so somebody told me I am making history and I can’t believe it! It’s more than a dream, I can’t explain it. Here, we realised that maybe people care about us and it’s awesome, we didn’t expect that.”
Robert Quadriguez, Japanese
“I studied Japanese at university but it’s been quite a few years since then so it’s gotten a little rusty. But speaking to Statman at the Men’s Euros last year he told us that there would be alternative feeds with language tracks and they’d need somebody for Japan. I said ‘right, I’ll use the time to get it back up to speed.’
“The hard thing is a lot of the terminology in derby is from America so it would be the word itself, ‘lead jammer’ no matter where it is, but the grammar and verbs differ. I had a lot of help from Tokyo Rollergirls’ Thunderbelle, she gave me a lot of instruction and I’m so thankful to her for helping me out.
“Even though I’ve tried to prepare as much as I can, I will go on record and say I’m not fluent in Japanese, doing it live and on the spot translations has been difficult. I’m in awe of all the announcers who are announcing in other languages and doing it fluently.”
Cleverly Crusher, Gaelic
“I hadn’t actually put it down on my application that I’m a fluent Gaelic speaker but when we arrived I realised there was going to be a couple of times when Ireland would play and there wouldn’t be an alternative language. We didn’t have someone to announce the Ireland and Germany game at the time so I said, ‘I can speak Irish, can I do it?’ and they said ‘Yeah, knock yourself out!’
“It was amazing. I told the Irish guys here and they were delighted. We actually had 20 people on the feed. It’s not that many but it’s a source of pride for the Irish people to have that option there.
“I had to make up a few words as nobody has ever announced a game in Irish in roller derby before, ever, so that was a world first yesterday. A lot of the time I was using English words but I adapted some words from other sports and applied them to derby.”
Val Kyria, German
“It’s been pretty amazing, though disappointing when it didn’t quite work on the first day but the second day totally made up for it.
“For me it was a new experience as I’ve never announced in a mother tongue before, I’ve only announced in English. In the beginning I was a bit nervous because we’re already talking in English in German roller derby.
“I know we had 50 people for Belgium versus Germany and I had a few messages of support, which was really nice.”