Google Translator Has Broken Down language barriers at the World Cup in Russia

Football may be the most universal language on the planet , but when it comes to deciphering the Cyrillic alphabet or communicating with locals at the World Cup in Russia, love for the ball is sometimes not enough.

To overcome the language barriers in Russia, fans around the world have been actively using Google’s translator through their cell phones. That has saved them from rummaging through phrasebooks or gesturing to ask for directions. Many of those attending the World Cup claim to use Google almost all the time.

The application proved to be indispensable for many fans when communicating with locals in bars, restaurants and hotels in the 11 host cities.

“It’s very difficult to understand the Cyrillic alphabet, said Brazilian fan Gustavo, who traveled more than 12,000 kilometers from his hometown of Pocos de Caldas to support his team in Kazan.

“So we use Google all the time (…) it makes everything a lot easier,” he added.

Some foreign fans write what they want to say in Russian in their native language in the app, and show the translation to the locals . Others use the voice function of the app that allows them to virtually speak to people in other languages.

The Russians were also caught in this fashion.

Google Translator Has Broken Down language barriers at the World Cup in Russia

“We were in a gift shop and the lady had her computer turned on, so she could write her words in Russian and then ask me to look at her screen to read the English translation,” said Trisha, a Filipino tourist visiting Kazan.

Although the application can sometimes produce inaccuracies or rare translations , fans say it has significantly improved their experience during the World Cup.

“One of our friends wanted to tell a woman in a store that Russian women were very beautiful,” said Colombian Juan David Londono in Samara, where Colombia beat Senegal 1-0 in the group stage. “But when Google translated it, it said: ‘older women are very beautiful.'”

Some journalists have also used the tool to circumvent language restrictions imposed in press encounters with certain teams.

At a press conference with French star Antoine Griezmann, a Spanish journalist wanted to ask him about his future at his club, Atlético de Madrid.

But French press officers said the questions would only be taken in French, a language the journalist did not speak. In the end he managed to get around the restriction by having the Google translator reproduce his question in French.

Griezmann laughed and began to respond in Spanish while the French team’s spokesman said “next question” and urged the player to remain silent.

Translated from Spanish:

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