Languages Blend Beautifully at This Year’s Olympic Games

On August 5th the countries of the world will work to put aside their differences, and come together for two weeks of sportsmanship in Rio, Brazil. Many of us have already been watching the qualifying events on TV and are excited for the games to start! 205 countries will be represented, including for the first time a team comprised entirely of refugees without a nation or flag. This year’s Olympics are sure to be an historic one and will definitely be memorable.

With Brazil's cost to sponsor the games reaching a reported $14.4 billion, it is clear that much planning and many resources go into putting on such a large international event. One of the biggest challenges often overlooked is the inherent language barrier among athletes, referees, judges, coaches, organizers, and spectators. Just imagine the frustrations a Chinese footballer may feel arguing a call with a French referee. One of the ways the Olympics has historically handled this issue is through translated signs and menus. This has helped provide direction throughout the Olympic Village to ensure all the events take place as planned. Interpretation services have also been made readily available to assist with direct questions and specific instances impractical to handle with signage.

Language is not the only cultural hurdle to overcome at this year’s Olympics. With thousands of world-class athletes all in one place, the food served to them will have a direct impact on their performance. Menus differ across the globe and what may be one athlete’s go-to protein source may make another gag! To make sure everyone is satisfied, the chefs at the Olympic Village plan to cook over 460,000 lbs of food each day. In fact, three “football fields worth” of space is dedicated to the massive task of feeding the world’s athletes. Various cuisine types will be served including vegetarian, Kosher, Halal, and vegan.

To keep up with the Olympic Games this year, NBC will be your main source for content. Most events will be televised while the majority can be found on their dedicated website. This year, enjoy the games and keep in mind all that went into making them a reality.

 

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