Campus News

Interpreting WEG for the Wider World

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 28, 2010) −University of Kentucky Russian Studies Professor Jeanmarie Rouhier-Willoughby is beyond counter-cantering in her Russian-to-English- translation.

And German Professor Ted Fiedler is well on his way with brushing up his equestrian sports terminology this month as well-- in English as well as German.

UK's Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures is assisting World Equestrian Games organizers with language translation and interpretation throughout the 16-day championships.

Rouhier-Willoughby jumped on the chance to help out at WEG shortly after she heard news of the games coming to Lexington. "I love to help out with Russian in the Lexington community," she said. "And I'll go wherever I'm needed while I'm at the Horse Park."


As a Russian Language Specialist at the Games, Rouhier-Willoughby could be anywhere: working with athletes, or the press, with the grooms, or in the medical facility. "I could also be helping out patrons with basic questions," she said.

While some of the more esoteric eventing language required a bit more study for Rouhier-Willoughby, her enjoyment of casual horseback riding was an asset during WEG preparation. 

"I have a friend who's a dressage coach in town and used to be on the Russian team, and she's helped me with some of the more technical language," she said. "If all else fails, I've got a book with detailed equine-related pictures, so I can point."

Fiedler has general interest in the games as well, as his late father-in-law had an affinity for horses. "I will probably go see the cross-country event or stadium jumping, depending on my schedule," he said. "I actually know the German equivalents of eventing terminology better than English; I enjoy it."

Fiedler is volunteering in the operations area of the Horse Park. "I could be helping people communicate average things," he explained, "like medical problems or letting someone know that they aren't allowed to go certain places."

Both Fiedler and Rouhier-Willoughby have high hopes for WEG and its lasting international effects. "I think that it's going to be so cool -- even if only for three weeks - - that Lexington will be filled with people from around the world," said Rouhier-Willoughby. "And the visitors are going to love it here; Kentuckians are so welcoming."

"I hope that WEG will give people a larger sense of the world," added Feidler. "And I hope that they become aware that being able to speak another language is important."

With road signs in 15 languages on Versailles Rd. and Newtown Pike, WEG's international influence will be hard to ignore. "Yes, WEG is difficult, and the details can be complicated, but it's going to be such a good experience," said Rouhier-Willoughby.


"The University of Kentucky has been involved in a big way," said WEG Language Services Manager Sandy Suffoletta. "Back in January, Dr. Fiedler and Dr. Harald Höbusch helped test our volunteers for their level of proficiency in German. Our Language Specialists have been tested for proficiency by the professors to be able to handle the degree of fluency we will need."