Coaching with Translators

  • China ClubFootball Coach, Sam Hough looks at the role of a translator and how it affects the role of a coach in a foreign country

Coaching with Translators

Coaching with a translator is something that had never crossed my mind before, but why would it when I have never had to use one in a session before?

Embarking on a trip to China to coach football is something that had really opened my mind and made me realise more about myself as a coach and also an individual.

The question that I would like to discuss during this post is: Is our coaching really effective in an overseas country when a translator is involved? How much of what you are trying to say is being understood by the translator and is it being translated to the players in the most effective way?

My philosophy as a coach is very Player-Centred, I like the players to take as much ownership of their learning as they can. I like to create a positive learning environment where I as the coach can prompt players in the right direction, without giving them the answer. How much of this would a translator understand if they are studying something like law in university and translating as their part time job?

Being in China has made me think deeply into this idea, how can I be a better all round coach in order to make my sessions as effective as possible, when English isn't the first language spoken?

I personally feel that a guided discovery approach is ideal when working with a translator who's knowledge of Football isn't the greatest. Can we as fully qualified coaches guide our translators in understanding why taking ownership of our OWN learning is very important? Of course we can. Allowing them to understand will hopefully make them change the way in which they translate to help the players learn in this way.

Written By Sam Hough

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Coaching with Translators

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