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  • Writer's pictureEva

Translating women in sport

It was about this time two years ago, I had decided to combine my passion for sports and language and dedicate my master's dissertation project to the Journalistic Translation of women’s sport stories in Greek and English.

Before you start a dissertation, you have to submit a proposal to your lecturers to show that your idea is worth exploring further, a proposal. My research for my proposal showed me a few interesting things:

a. There aren’t a lot of women’s sports stories circulating on top Greek sports media channels.

b. Many articles featuring top female athletes refer to their looks and their physique and, in most cases, they are accompanied by a gallery of photos with the athletes in swimwear or underwear.

These findings were in line with those found by another study led by the department of Journalism and Mass Media communication of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The study found that the representation of women’s sport in Greek media was less than 5% with only one mention to female athletes during the first 6 months of 2018 and in fact any mentions were often accompanied by sexist remarks. On top of that, the latest Eurostat data from 2018 showed that Greek female sport participation was at a low of 20%. As a female who grew up doing sports in Greece, it saddens me to see that things may have not changed that much in all these years.

Greece has been hit very hard by the financial crisis and the effects have been ongoing in recent years. Evidently when a country goes through difficult times, funds for sport development are limited. However, this is why sports writers and journalists should acknowledge this current issue regarding female sport participation and use their channels of influence and engagement to help bring that social change.

I still read articles with Olympic level water polo athletes described as the coach’s mermaids, emerging talented athletes as the “hot” new prospects with long legs or an Olympic medallist in shooting described as the beautiful blonde shooter. It shows that things are certainly different in Greek sports media in comparison to English media, especially as far as women’s sport is concerned. It was just in March 2019 that The Telegraph launched a unique “Women’s sport” section run by a dedicated team of female sports journalists passionately driven to share informative, educational and inspirational women’s sport stories content. This being a revolutionary initiative with “unprecedented investment and coverage of women’s sport by a UK publisher”, one that could be a leading example to other countries too.

Journalism and mass media communication are powerful tools capable of inspiring younger females to participate in sport not because of how it can make their bodies look but because through sport they can build the character and strength to pursue their dreams and passions, whether these relate to sport or not.

Sport is important for the youth, girls and boys alike because #sportdevelopspeople.

So, with all that said, stay tuned for my translated women sport stories!The first one honours the first woman to have ran the original torturous ancient ultramarathon race from Athens to Sparta, covering a total of 524km over the course of 6 consecutive days with minimal rest and sleep. Her story is sure to inspire women and men due to her tough mindset and sporting grace. Here is a quote which for me represents her well…

“A strong woman knows she has strength enough for the journey, but a woman of strength knows it is in the journey where she will become strong.”

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