In this video filmed in June, members of CrossFit’s Seminar Staff are delivering the second of two Level 1 Certificate Courses in Shanghai, China—the first Level 1s offered in the most world’s most populous country. About half the seminar’s 20 participants speak English, while the other half speak Mandarin, so all content is translated.
“Language barrier is always something that has to be negotiated,” says staff member Brett Fforde.
“First time working with this batch of translators, so we had a lot of prep work the day before the Level 1. (We) went through some of the key terms we want to bring across to the participants,” instructor Kevin Lim adds.
The challenge is making sure the translation accurately conveys the message, but, as staff member Juria Maree points out, you can always show instead of tell.
“You don’t need that much language when you can show what the movement should look like,” she says, “and with a few cues, you can get a person in a position.”
Seminar Staff trainers look for creative ways to demonstrate proper movement to those who don’t speak the same language, and they always find common ground in the ever-growing global community.
“As CrossFit becomes more common and spreads its wings you’ll go to somewhere, not speak the language but be able to do a thruster and a pull-up and share a bond with someone,” Fforde says.
Video by Ian Wittenber.
Additional reading: “High on CrossFit” by Jaime Arashiro, published Dec. 10, 2012.