“The learning curve is steeper than the hardest mountain stage.”
6. June 2018

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There is a lot of reading and writing around the Tour de Suisse – not only in German but also in French and English.

To ensure that this runs smoothly, the Landesrundfahrt relies on Supertext under the project management of Rahel Seeholzer. A conversation about cycling jargon, the challenges of the royal stage and the “Bahnhof Olten” dialect

Mrs Seeholzer, the Tour de Suisse record winner Peter Sagan speaks Slovakian. Supertext too?

Sure – from Arabic to Zulu you can order almost everything via supertext.ch. Even Slovakian. So feel free to hold the next winning interview in his or her mother tongue – or simply leave it to our interpreters.

Supertext has been translating for the Tour de Suisse since 2017. Hand on heart: Do you actually read all the texts yourself?

(Laughs) Reading is one of my great passions. But no one can handle this volume alone: 70 jobs with over 35,000 words have already passed our desks for the Tour de Suisse this year alone, often with very tight deadlines. This is exactly why we work with such a powerful team. Supertext is a worldwide network of around 50 permanent employees and over 1000 freelancers – copywriters, translators and proofreaders for more than 30 languages and every subject area.
My job is to pull all the strings and meet the deadlines. But of course: every translation is proofread by a native speaker before delivery to the customer.

How does a network with over 30 languages around the globe work? Do you all understand each other at all?

Yes, the conversations at the lunch table are probably quite confusing for outsiders. Soon five languages are buzzing through the room at the same time. But we all get along well with German and English, so that there are actually never problems of understanding.

And in the meantime, can you join in on a “Gümmeler Feierabend beer conversation”?

You pick up a thing or two, of course. Personally, I still prefer my rickety ladies bike to the carbon wire donkey. Our Tour de Suisse translators are quite different. That’s five to seven people per language – many of them themselves “Gümmeler”.

Why is it so important? In other words: what is special about the Tour de Suisse translations?

Like every subject, cycling has its typical jargon, which you first have to internalize. The more languages are involved, the more complicated it becomes. Soon it is not enough to know only what Quervelos, TT technology and final hubs are. An example: the royal stage becomes the “étape reine” in French and the “queen stage” in English – and thus the king becomes queen. Here, memorization was the order of the day; with a learning curve steeper than the hardest mountain stage.

How do you maintain this learning curve? Does Supertext carry some kind of cycling dictionary?

So to speak, and one with the latest technology: in the translation memory we store all previous translations for the Tour de Suisse. If the same words or even sentences occur again in a similar context, the same translation is automatically suggested. A win-win situation: the texts become more consistent and our delivery times shorter.

Are there also things that cannot be translated at your place? How’s the dialect?

As far as language expertise is concerned, there has not yet been anything that we had to reject. Dialect orders also occur from time to time, although not all dialects are the same. Incidentally, the most popular is the so-called “Bahnhof Olten” dialect – the intersection of all Swiss-German dialects.

At the end: What is your favorite word?

As a Lucerne citizen, the “Vierwaldstätterseedampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftscocktailbargläs

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