If a journalist visits a camp in the Midlands in England, two things are likely to happen: let him get ankle-deep in mud from stepping on the grass, and find Ronan Malt. Press conferences are the habitat of this 35-year-old translator born in the county of Shropshire but that he lived in Jerez, where he was impregnated with the Cadiz accent.
Ronan has been the translator for some of the best-known Spanish footballers in the Premier League, such as Santi Cazorlawho had to deal with convoluted questions from the astute British journalists. “TI have to study all the history of the player before translating“, recognizes AS the interpreter, accustomed to throwing capotes.
That is how made it to press conferences at The Hawthorns, where Pepe Mel unexpectedly became manager of West Bromwich Albion after a poor run of results. It was Christmas 2014 and Ronan became the Spanish squire every Sunday in front of the press. A delicate moment for Albion, even when they won their matches…
“Wins are like London buses?”, Pepe Mel’s interpreter had to translate on one occasion, who haggled over the question as best he could. “When I heard it live, I thought: killo, I’m going to give this a spin because otherwise you won’t understand itRonan now remembers, who, in a matter of seconds, explained to the coach the fame of the buses in the capital, and their perverse frequency, which the British compare to victories in football.
a problem solver
West Brom flirted with relegation that campaign, but finally ended up saving the category on the last daywhich did not spare Mel from an abrupt farewell. With the departure of the Spanish coach, Ronan went to Sunderland, who had just hired Gustavo Poyet. The Uruguayan signed for the northern team and brought with him soccer players like Ricardo Álvarez, Bellerini or Coates.
Ronan then became the delegate of those playerswhom he advised in their day to day. An increasingly recognized profession, where the clubs have their own “Player Care” department to prevent their athletes from losing their way by solving their problems. With that mission, the interpreter was supposed to accompany the Sunderland players or their families to the hospitalsometimes also to inform the footballer himself of an injury.
“In the end, you are the one who gives them the bad news,” emphasizes Ronan, who is more used to funny anecdotes, like the one he experienced in 2016 with Zinedine Zidane and Keylor Navas before the Champions League second leg between Real Madrid and Manchester City. The French coach had torn his suit in the first leg and the question was almost forced: “how is your tailor?”.
Zidane had not understood the journalist’s question, but Ronan was the interpreter of that interview and helped him out of the way. Just like Keylor Navas, another of the strong men of that Madrid, and that in his intervention with the press he constantly resorted to the expressions “Thank God” or “Pura vida”.
“It was quite a challenge to translate it into English”gracefully admits the interpreter, who currently collaborates with a communication agency for footballers in England. However, where he sees more future is in documentaries about sports. “An expanding market”, as Ronan explains in his orientation talks to university students, fans of the Premier and good stories.