Inter in Iran: Theory and Practice of Web Site Localization
In an increasingly globalized world, web site localization has rapidly become an important form of cross-cultural and multimodal translation. The current pandemic has poignantly demonstrated how crucial multilingual web sites are to all aspects of life – from healthcare to education, from business to sport. The localization of football clubs’ web sites, however, has received very little attention in terms of academic research. As any other brands with local and global markets, football clubs rely on multilingual and multimodal communications to reach wider audience and increase their profile as well as their revenue. Most of the internet users in the world are non-native English speakers. The relevance of this data also applies to the most popular game in the world, football, and ought to be taken into serious consideration by football clubs in shaping their profile and priorities in terms of identity and outreach. The aim of this interdisciplinary thesis – one of the first academic studies worldwide devoted to the theory and practice of football club web site localization, especially in the context of Iran, where interest in national and international football is constantly growing – was thus to investigate how accurate and cross-culturally appropriate the translation of leading football clubs’ web site content actually is. This research project was conceptualized and conducted as a mixed-method case study to generate and combine quantitative and qualitative data in order to analyse and assess the translation and intercultural communication strategies adopted by some of the top football to produce multilingual web site content. Gathered data has been used to establish a set of theoretical principles and practical guidelines to help not only web site localizers and translation scholars but also media consultants and marketing analysts acquire a deeper understanding of how crucial translation quality and cross-cultural competence are – all the more so when localizing into a such a unique language as culture that is far-removed from the source language and culture. The theoretical and practical rubric I have devised has then been tested by translating into Persian selected pages from the web site of Football Club Internazionale Milano, one of the most international (as its name attests) and globally-minded as well as successful football clubs in the world. The findings of this study demonstrate that football clubs ought to consider linguistic and cultural accuracy, alongside up-to-date technology and appealing content, as key factors in achieving not only effective communication but also short-term and long-term success on and off the field.