Tuesday, August 6, 2013

This is really bad.  Shame on ESPN for this.  Article directly from Yahoo website.

Yes, that ESPN screenshot really does list Nagiru Hiramatsu's favorite singer as "Wandai Wrection." If you've never heard of Mr. Wrection, well, it's because he actually doesn't exist.
On the other hand, One Direction is an actual band made up of actual English and Irish boys. You may have also never heard of it, but rest assured that it does exist and it was presumably the group that Hiramatsu named in a heavy accent to some poor sap ESPN producer who then took a guess at his or her own spelling without asking the Japanese teenager to clarify.
Why would the producer do that? Well, my best guess is that said producer never imagined that his or her career would entail asking Little League baseball players about their favorite music and so he or she just scribbled something down without any further questions because who watches ESPN's endless coverage of Little League baseball anyway?
Turns out a lot of people do. "Wandai Wrection" zoomed across Twitter on Monday night, landing on sites like Deadspin and Awful Announcing while reminding people of the recent pilot names snafu on KTVU. While it may not have been as woefully ignorant as reporting that a pilot was named "Sum Ting Wong," this lost in translation moment is still worth a forehead slap or two.

1 comment:

Ryan G said...

While you would think ESPN would try to fact-check this name, I'm going to take the other side and say that this is an easy mistake to make.

There are a few possibilities how this could have happened.

They could have asked the kid verbally. After living in Japan for 18 months, I still have trouble with Japanese pronunciation of many English names, especially when I've never heard of them. How many American men know about One Direction? I only know about them thanks to my students mentioning them in class. I've never even heard a single song. With Japanese pronunciation and intonation, it could easily sound like Wandai-Reksheen.

They could have provided an information sheet to the players or team to have filled out. If the boy filled it out, he could have written it in katakana (which would then be translated very poorly) or he could have tried to use his limited English ability to write it himself. Teaching students of all ages has shown me that amazingly strange spellings can show up in writing, especially when dealing with beginning English speakers.

He, his Japanese coach, or one of his teachers could have translated it for him.

So yes, shame on ESPN for not checking to see if such a person exists (though it's also possible they could assume there might be some artist with such a name in Japan that wouldn't show up in searches in English). But where did the actual spelling come from? And how much time does ESPN have to gather this information, fact check all of it, and prepare it for use on the broadcasts?

Just offering another, less hostile point of view. After living in Japan for so long, you learn to enjoy the "Engrish" put out by overzealous advertisers and accept that there's a lot that gets lost in translation.