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The La Liga build-up – a linguistic slant

by Goal Translation | Posted on Friday, August 21st, 2015

Goal Translation brings us the first edition of La Liga Football Translations for those that don’t speak Spanish but are eager to learn what those commentators and players are saying in the heat of the moment.

Luis Enrique1

After an eventful pre-season taking in intercontinental tours, two Super Cups (is Barça’s glass half-full or half-empty?) and plenty of hours on the training ground, who goes into the season with the best rodaje? Whose puesta a punto and concentración have been the most effective? Which team are going to come out con el cuchillo entre los dientes? Which new players are ready to foguearse? Will Barcelona’s defence remain a coladero as it has been in recent weeks?

If you didn’t understand every word of the above, our regular series on the language of the beautiful game in Spain – or el deporte rey, as they call it – is for you. In it, we’ll take a look at the quirky ways in which football is spoken and written about in the Spanish press and among fans, picking out a few of the most interesting words and expressions from the previous days.

We’ll also produce special editions coinciding with particular events or occasions. For example, with the campaign about to kick off in earnest, this week’s words are mostly related to the corridor of uncertainty that is the pre-season:

Without further ado, here are our debut Inside Spanish Football explanations:

Rodaje – This noun and its adjective, rodado, literally mean “rolling” and “rolled”, but are used in Spanish football speak to refer to how far along a team are in their preparations. Outside football, they can also be employed to refer to “running in” objects, such as a new car, or a learning process. Rodaje also means “shoot”, though it’s nothing to do with football in this sense – think film cameras!

Puesta a punto – The Spanish equivalent of a “tune-up”, this is used both for team preparations and to talk about players working their way back to full fitness after injuries.

Concentración – Lots of concentration is required at a concentración, but that’s not what it refers to. This is the Spanish way of talking about a training camp, both at club and at international level.

Con el cuchillo entre los dientes – Literally “with a knife between your teeth”, this is a colourful version of “with all guns blazing”. It’s believed to be related to the expression “armado hasta los dientes”, which is used word for word in English (“armed to the teeth”).

Foguearse – This verb refers to cleaning the inside of a gun by firing it with very little gunpower within. Metaphorically, it’s all about introducing someone into an activity – “blooding” inexperienced players in footie. If this goes wrong, it can become a “baptism of fire”.

Coladero – There is nothing subtle about this one. Any defence that leaks goals is invariably described in Spanish as a coladero, or a sieve.

Goal Translation is a young team of football translators based in Spain and the UK. We’re fascinated by the way the game is discussed in different languages and countries and we regularly tweet about multilingual football lingo @goaltranslation.

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