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The Boy Dunn Good – Luke’s experience with Sevilla FC

By James Dowden, Magazine Editor

Whilst at Hampton School, Luke Dunn enjoyed editing the Hampton Sports Chronicle under the guidance of Mr Smith. Since leaving Hampton Luke has gone on to work at Sevilla FC as a translator and social media correspondent. He recently caught up with HSC to talk about how he has made the switch from Hanworth Road to the Andalusian plains.

How did you break into working at Sevilla FC?

By fluke really! As a part of my Spanish degree I was obliged to find either a job or place on a university course in a Spanish speaking country for the third year of my course.

From the beginning, the dream was to find something at a football club. I wrote to just about every team in Spain but nothing was happening. One day – by complete coincidence – a family friend ran into the lad who had my current job last season and explained my situation. A couple of phone calls later I had my dream job for the year.

I honestly didn’t believe it was true until all the paperwork was signed and I had everything in writing. I leave in June to go back for my final year at university but have found a family in Sevilla and have a Spanish club for life.

What has your role been at Sevilla and what is a typical day is like?

I have more or less been responsible for every word of English Sevilla FC has released publicly since mid-August. This has most importantly meant managing the Club’s English social media (live tweeting and facebooking matches), as well as translating match reports, interviews, Club statements, website articles and various other bits and pieces (chuck us a follow at @SevilaFC_ENG and you’ll make me a very happy man!).

As for highlights there are honestly far too many to mention but if I had to choose, it would be the Champions League last-16 tie with Manchester United. As a United fan myself, once I knew I’d be working at Sevilla I joked for months that the two teams could be drawn against each other – it was a total pipe-dream at the time. I’d just got back from Madrid after covering our 5-0 drudging at the Bernabéu and needed some serious cheering up. The draw was on the TV in the office and while everyone else was slightly sombre when United were pulled out of the pot as our next CL opponents, I went absolutely mad.

I can honestly say the matches themselves will stay with me forever. Up until about three days before I still hadn’t decided who I was supporting but I had become so attached to the incredible fans at Sevilla (honestly, they’re easily the best I’ve ever seen) that I went with my employers.

In the first leg I was lucky enough to see one of the greatest goalkeeping performances of all time from David De Gea and then meet Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Bobby Charlton and José Mourinho after the game.

Luke James Dunn
Dunn with Sir Alex Ferguson

As for the second, I’ve never been so on edge. After about 70 minutes of barely being able to sit down, Wissam Ben Yedder silenced Old Trafford with two goals and I just about had a heart attack in the stands. I can honestly say I’ve never celebrated so hard in my life and it was against my own team!

A close second has to be coming from 0-3 down against Liverpool to draw 3-3 at the Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium. When that equaliser went in friends were crying from happiness, strangers were hugging and I had to physically stop myself shaking as I was updating our Twitter. Football, eh?

How important are languages to the world of sport and the benefit they can provide?

I think it speaks volumes that nearly every foreign player (no matter where they’re based) takes English lessons and media training when they reach a certain level – even
if they have no intention of ever playing abroad. Language is everything and native English-speakers who can speak another language fluently are gold dust to global sporting organisations.

Football clubs in the Champions League are a perfect example when most communications are carried out in English and there’s so much interaction between countries. Having another language in your pocket opens up an entire world of opportunities – I’m sure that’s true of most industries.

How is the sports translation industry today?

When it comes to competition, sure, there will be a lot of people vying for translation jobs and many with the advantage of native parents and the like; however, my two cents is that the best translators aren’t vocabmachines with stunning knowledge
of the pluperfect subjunctive.

For me, above all else, they’re good writers who can understand tone, idiom and context. Get that down and you’ve won half the battle. In sport specifically, don’t be afraid to have a sense of humour. Some people take football (and other sports) far too seriously and would be better off remembering that sports journalism is not an academic science.

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