Many thanks to the 28 people who joined us from around the world, and Ben blew us away right from the start by revealing that he, then an interpreter and translator, took it upon himself to pitch interpreting services to the BBC for the 2014 World Cup, and ended up negotiating a contract to run all the local logistical and fixing support!
Ben continued by outlining the qualities required by a good local, bilingual fixer – interpersonal and communication skills, a proactive approach and ability to think on your feet and resolve matters before they become problems, and good planning and organisational skills, to name but a few.
He listed some of the typical practical work done by fixers, such as on-demand interpreting in all situations, setting up meetings, interviews and filming locations, and generally smoothing the way in terms of travel, accommodation and meals, so that the media teams can focus on their job.
He gave us a good insight into the work fixers did during the World Cup in Brazil, such as travelling around the vast country every 2 or 3 days with football commentary teams, looking after fixed studio production teams and talent, and working in the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) – the hub of media operations in sporting events of this scale.
Ben told us he then went on to run the logistical and fixing support for both the BBC and Australian Channel 7 Sports during the 2016 Rio Olympics, spending 2 months in the IBC and coordinating large numbers of drivers, fixers and runners.
The Zoom chat was by now filling up with various figurative “Ooohhs” and “Aaahhs”, but I think the icing on the cake for all was when Ben told us that the BBC had liked his work so much, that after the 2014 World Cup, they asked him to learn Russian so that he could accompany and fix for the principal BBC Sport football commentator on his travels during the competition in 2018 – a challenge he readily accepted and undertook!
Using a presentation with superb visuals, interspersed with some fascinating and amusing anecdotes, Ben practically mesmerised the audience – the questions they put at the end showed a great level of engagement and interest, and the Zoom chat was filled with comments of praise and thanks to Ben, which the CIOL Brazil Network wholeheartedly echos!
This presentation is an insight into the world of media fixing.
In broadcasting and journalism, a fixer is a member of a team or film crew working in a foreign country, who has local knowledge and language skills, and assists the team as required to enable and facilitate their work while in the country. This may include, for example, translating/interpreting, setting up meetings/interviews/shoot locations, making practical arrangements for transport and accommodation.
This talk will bring Ben Kohn's personal experiences of working as a bilingual TV fixer at major sporting events like the World Cup and Olympic Games, and the lessons learned from such assignments, along with reflections on what makes a good fixer.
• Introduction to fixing as a work opportunity for linguists
• How language skills are essential for a fixer
• Other key skills/attributes of a fixer
• Insight into working in TV broadcasting at major sports events
Ben Kohn, MCIL, CL, MITI, is a Brazilian Portuguese-English translator and interpreter with extensive experience working as a TV fixer and managing local support teams in Brazil.
He established his business, Quesco Brasil Translations, in 2004 in Niterói-RJ. After moving back to the UK in 2012 he began working with BBC Sport to provide them with fixers for the major sporting events to be held in Brazil – notably the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Alongside his translation work, Ben continues to provide TV fixer services to travelling film crews through an international network of fixers and other contacts.
Please note timings:
8pm – 9.15pm UK time
4pm – 5.15pm Brazil time
This event will take place via Zoom