Translator for top footballers brings taste of Brazil to Edinburgh Fringe

Laura Doyle in the cabaret show It's The Rio Thing. Picture: Stewart Attwood/Getty
Laura Doyle in the cabaret show It's The Rio Thing. Picture: Stewart Attwood/Getty
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Her day job is representing some of the world’s top international footballers after they arrive in the UK to sign for Premier League clubs.

Now Laura Doyle is temporarily leaving her high-octane lifestyle behind and joining thousands of other wannabe stars whose ambition is to be discovered during the Edinburgh Fringe by bringing her pop-up cabaret show It’s The Rio Thing to the city next month.

Tahith Chong plays for  Manchester United. Picture: Will Russell/Getty

Tahith Chong plays for Manchester United. Picture: Will Russell/Getty

Doyle, who speaks five languages, was headhunted by Stellar Group, one of the UK’s top sport PR agencies, after a football agent waiting at Manchester airport to meet twins Fábio and Rafael da Silva from Brazil, who were both due to sign for Manchester United, realised the young players and their accompanying family members could not speak English and a translator was urgently needed.

Having spent years working in Rio de Janeiro, Doyle was not only fluent in Portuguese but also understood the culture. “I got a call out of the blue and went from a job as a director in an advertising agency in Liverpool to translating for Sir Alex Ferguson in a nanosecond,” she said.

Her current charges include Marcos Rojo and Tahith Chong at Manchester United, and Yan Valery at Southampton.

“There’s the myth of the spoiled footballer earning lots of money. But many are humble, from simple backgrounds, young, shy and well brought up who just lead extraordinary lives.

Yan Valery of Southampton. Picture: Daniel Kopatsch/Getty

Yan Valery of Southampton. Picture: Daniel Kopatsch/Getty

“Clubs instil respect for other people in them. Yes, some can be demanding but they lead demanding lives.

“I mostly manage the foreign talent and they often need a lot of help with the language and culture. Something like paying a gas bill can be an impossible task when you don’t speak the language.”

Doyle said one of the most unusual tasks she had to undertake was getting scrubbed up to go into an operating theatre after both Da Silva twins needed shoulder operations.

“It was a coincidence it happened to them both, but it was a year apart. The surgeons needed me there so they could ask them questions.”

During her time in Brazil, Doyle also developed a passion for singing along to the country’s highly popular and exuberant vintage bossa nova, samba and jazz-style music.

As a contrast to the demands of her job, Doyle decided to try her hand at performing, taking annual leave and starting off with comedy gigs and singing.

From there she progressed to cabaret and now sings along to bossa nova numbers with her band made up of drummer Vidar Norheim, formerly of Wave Machines, Micky Dunne, gypsy-jazz guitarist, and Jesse Eigan, jazz bassist.

“It’s very different from dealing with the players, but I would say I was a bit nervous with both at the beginning.

“But now I just think ‘gubbins is gubbins’. If someone like Gareth Bale walked in the room now, I would just be like ‘do you want a cup of tea?’”

Dr Mary Brown, former lecturer in occupational psychology at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, said people following their dreams rather than putting it off until the future was to be encouraged.

“Doing something different other than just the job to pay the rent, is psychologically beneficial.

“Many people have very ordinary jobs which don’t necessarily challenge them and doing a little bit of what they dream about takes them out of the mundane routine.

“It reminds you that you have other talents. It is also very energising.”

For more details on It’s The Rio Thing, visit baiana.co.uk