Sage Kotsenburg’s amped-up, post-victory press conference had Russian interpreters’ tongues twisting

‘Think the way they think’

Kotsenburg’s attempt to break down the run in lay terms was head-spinning and borderline futile.

Imagine, then, how the simultaneous interpreters felt. Most press conferences in Sochi are interpreted for non-English speakers.

Kotsenburg required not one but two linguists to convert his stoked, sick, chill lingo into Russian. But double-teaming isn’t unique to snowboarding. It’s standard even at the United Nations, and interpreters often take turns speaking because the task is so mentally demanding.

Nonetheless, “I didn’t really think he’d go that technical,” said Andrey Lesokhin — who a few days earlier translated International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach’s remarks from English into Russian for President Vladimir Putin.

“But this was not the most complicated (thing),” Lesokhin’s fellow interpreter Oxana Yakimenko added. “In Russian, a ‘grab’ is a ‘grab,’ ‘cab’ is like ‘cab,’ and even though there’s a Russian word for ‘rail,’ we say, ‘rail.’ But ’jump’ is ‘tramplin,’ and a ‘spin’ is ‘vraschenije,’ and ‘flip’ is ‘salto.’”

What about “stoked”?

After a pause and some prodding, Yakimenko admitted, “We used the word for ‘under the influence of alcohol,’ which is kind of like ‘under the fly.’”

Lesokhin mostly noticed that Kotsenburg “said ‘sick’ a lot.”

The Russian word for sick, “bolnoy,” Yakimenko said, “is bad, like you have a disease or something.” But there are plenty of Russian words for “crazy,” so the duo substituted “bezumny,” “kruto” or “sumasshedshy.” More.

See: Al Jazeera America

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