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Lost in translation

sports Updated: Jun 27, 2010 00:57 IST

Spanish-speaking sides are wonderfully fluent with the ball at their feet at the World Cup, but worryingly tongue-tied when it comes to language barriers.

The Spanish, Argentinians, Mexicans, the Chileans and Uruguayans all speak Spanish, yet usage is very different between Spain itself and Latin America so discussions can often get lost in translation.

Take the Barcelona dressing room, where Lionel Messi of Argentina says he doesn't always catch on when Mexican central defender Rafael Marquez nips by for a chat.

Messi explains that Marquez will arrive and say - "give me a 'playera' and a pair of 'tachos'."

Eventually, Messi realised his clubmate meant what an Argentine would call a 'casaca' and some 'botines' - a shirt and a pair of boots.

But if a Paraguayan showed up he would want a 'camiseta' and some 'taquillas' instead - or even the equivalent in the ethnic language Guarani, widely spoken in the landlocked country.

At international level, players will generally be on the same linguistic wavelength.

But at club level, things can get confusing.

If a clubmate shouts, 'keeper', he could say any one of the following: 'Arquero', 'portero', 'golero', 'guardameta', 'guardavalla', 'cuidavalla', 'cuidapalos' or 'cancerbero'.

Each means goalkeeper in different parts of Latin America.

Spain's La Liga has dozens of Brazilian and Portuguese players, such as Real Madrid's Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo.

It's perhaps not surprising that the man in the middle has numerous descriptions.

Whereas a Spaniard might go down in the notebook of the 'arbitro' or 'colegiado', Paraguayans get booked by the 'refere' while Argentinians complain about the 'referi'.

And if a player snatches the ball off an opposing group of players in a Spanish training session he would be performing a 'rondo' but a 'torito' in Mexico, a 'mono' in Uruguay or a 'loco' in Argentina.