By Zara Zubeidi
How did you end up with a job at Seville FC?
It was one of the work placements which the University provided on the Blackboard database and, as soon as I spotted it, I sent an email directly to the Head of Press at Sevilla FC expressing my interest, and a few days later, after sending my CV and a cover letter, it was confirmed that the job was mine.
What does translating involve?
I was in charge of translating the website daily from Spanish to English, so mainly the news, match reports and interviews with the players. Initially that was rather difficult as there was lots of specific vocab and set phrases which I hadn’t heard of. However, after a month or so, it became much easier as I got to grips with the style of writing at the club.
I also either translated or wrote official club letters in English to send to European clubs or players where Spanish isn’t spoken. For example, I had to send one to Sir Alex Ferguson congratulating him on serving 25 years at Manchester United. As much as it was an honour, this was a little painful as I’m a big Liverpool fan. I also sent letters of encouragement to Italian striker, Antonio Cassano, who required heart surgery and Bolton midfielder, Fabrice Muamba, who collapsed during a Premier League game against Tottenham. These letters were far more difficult to write, as both were very sensitive issues, and so the wording of the messages was imperative: especially the latter, where nobody knew if Muamba would pull through. Thankfully, he did.
What was the coolest thing you were given the opportunity to do at work?
This had to be meeting the players several times. If ever the President needed an official shirt to be signed by the players, I would go down to the changing rooms and wait outside until training had finished, and get them all to sign it. Trying to control 20 or so millionaire footballers isn’t the easiest task, but they were all very friendly and none more so than the legendary Freddy Kanoute.
What was the hardest thing you had to do?
My work mate had asked me to do him a favour: to get an individual photo of each player and the manager signed by the respective people. When the Sevilla FC manager, Marcelino, was sacked a few months into the season, I was only missing a few and his was one of them. I asked my colleague if he still needed the photo signing and he did. So, when Marcelino was on his way to his farewell press conference, clearly very emotional, I approached him and very politely asked if he wouldn’t mind signing something for the last time. He was very pleasant and instantly signed it and we shook hands. That was probably the hardest thing I had to do, as I saw first hand, with the dismissal of the manager, quite how cruel and unforgiving the football industry can be.
Was working for a Spanish company different to that in the UK?
Certainly, there is a far more laid back attitude in general in Spain. For example, when I turned up to work every day on time and tried to be as precise in my work as possible, I earned the nickname “Señor Riguroso” (Mr Rigorous) from my amusing colleagues in the office. They saw the way I worked as being ‘very English’ and so there are obvious differences between the Spanish and English workplaces. We don’t need two hours of sleep in the middle of the day, whereas for them it’s a must.
That said, I think working in a football club is slightly different, and so it wasn’t as relaxed and laid back as it would be in other Spanish workplaces; everyone was very hardworking as it’s such a high pressure and busy environment.
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