The World Cup shows the importance of creative translations

For football fans, the World Cup is a special event that they hope their team manages to qualify for.  And when they do, every game is watched intensely, with passion.  For businesses, the World Cup can present an opportunity to market products or services to a very engaged market.  But when your marketing crosses language boundaries, creative translation is needed to ensure your message isn’t lost.  Because while football may have one set of rules, it has many different phrases!

The language in football

While there are lots of phrases in football that cross language barriers, there are also lots of different sentences that mean something special in one language but are complete gibberish in another!

Here are a few examples of phrases from around Europe used in football that really don’t work in English:

  • Nettoyer les toiles d’araignées (French) – this means ‘to clean the cobwebs’ and is used when a player scores a goal with a very strong strike that the goalkeeper had no chance of stopping. This idiom is used for those shots coming through the top-corner of the goal and whacking the back of the net.

  • Gras fressen (German) – “eat the grass” the German fans are shouting but what they mean is that their team is fighting for the victory with passion but not playing very good football. 

  • La palla è rotonda (Italian) – this expression means “the ball is circular” and for this very reason any of the teams playing a match can get the victory, no matter the quality of the squads.

  • Tirarse a la piscina (Spanish) – this expression, which means “jump into the swimming pool”, is used when a player pretends to have been fouled, so that he can get a free kick or penalty kick. If you were to say this in English, people may look at you wondering what you are saying.

Cultural mediators

We all know hundreds of phrases and sayings that aren’t in the dictionary – many can be regional variations that are different depending on where you live.  You know how those phrases are used in your native language and if someone used them out of context, it would sound strange to you.


If you want to talk to football fans in different languages, you need to work with professional translators. They can understand the message of the source language and successfully reformulate an expression in a target language to communicate effectively with the target audience. 

Trust Your Brand can help translate your content ensuring that your copy is culturally relevant and will resonate within your customers when they see it.

The World Cup shows the importance of creative translations
Tirarse a la piscina (Spanish)