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Pinoy Abroad

Irwin Ver translates Oakland Raiders' website content to Tagalog

August 28, 2007 9:31pm

The Oakland Raiders future appears to be much brighter for Filipino fans of the team, and it has nothing to do with the April decision to draft JaMarcus Russell, or the recent acquisition of Dante Culpepper.

In what could be considered a move to broaden their already international-based audience, the franchise has announced that the team website will be launching a Tagalog and Japanese version, to join the ones they already have in Chinese, Spanish and German.

Amy Trask, the Raiders Chief Executive, in a July 19, 2007 statement posted on www.raiders.com, said that the organization would continue to be a leader in terms of “multicultural initiatives."

The addition of a Tagalog version to the website is very relevant in terms of representing Filipino culture and shows the organization’s dedication to a burgeoning Filipino population in both the Bay Area and the region of Southern California (the Raiders were based in Los Angeles from 1982 to 1994).

Some of the features offered in the Tagalog version will be information on the franchise’s proud history, weekly previews of upcoming games, and background rules for those not as familiar to the game.

Currently, the Raiders are the only National Football League (NFL) team with an official website solely dedicated to a language other than English. Started in 2002, by Patty Herrera, a former Raider cheerleader, www.raidersenespanol.com offers Spanish-speaking Raider fans the opportunity to keep in touch with the team’s latest news, statistics and player profiles.

Herrera, who can no longer be seen on the sidelines cheering for the team, is paving new roads for the organization as the Raiders Director of Multi-Cultural Affairs. It was under her coordination that the Raiders finally worked out all the kinks, and implemented the Tagalog version to the website.

“When I first originally came onboard, in 2002, the goal was to create a department that would allow us to create a full integrative platform that could serve later on to help reach out to other demographics," said Herrera. “Specifically, here in the Bay Area, which is such a culturally diverse area, it allows us, or at least myself, to have fun with this and to really reach out, not only to our local fans here that we have, but also to our fans abroad."

With the 2007 NFL season fast approaching, some local Raiders fans, like Al King, 24, are just hearing about the launch for the first time.

“I had no idea that the Raiders website is now in Tagalog, “ said King, a San Jose resident. “That’s crazy."

King, who came over to the United States from the Philippines when he was two years old, says he’s been a fan of the Raiders ever since he started to follow the game.

Jun Medina, who is from Arayat in the Philippines, and has been in the U. S. for over five years, thinks this an excellent move for the Raiders.

“Filipinos are lovers of sports, and a lot of them have embraced football as one of their favorite sports, along with basketball, “ Medina said. “I personally love football – it’s action-packed, thrilling and fun."

To access the Tagalog version, users must tog the scroll in the upper right-hand corner of the website’s home page, or simply click onto the “newsroom" section and look for the corresponding column.

Irwin Ver, who once served as head of the Presidential Guard for former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, is responsible for the Tagalog translation of the website’s content.

“We opted to put ourselves in touch with Mr. Ver to help us do more of the “Taglish" approach (of reporting)," Herrera said. “We’re really happy and excited to have him on board."

Herrera adds that Ver, and other content writers for the website take the information provided on the main web pages and translate it into their own words.

In a related move, beginning in May of 2007, as a promotional tool, the website started up a contest which elects an “International Fan Of The Week."

In order to enter the contest, Raiders fans from abroad are asked to submit a 500-word essay explaining why they think they are the team’s biggest supporter, and include a photo of them, or their family, as they show off their “Raider Pride." Winners of the contest have received prizes such as memorabilia autographed by past Raider legends, and merchandise with the team’s trademark silver and black colors.

Not coincidentally, Trask has paved the way, herself, as one of only two females in professional team sports that are employed as a top-level executive (Jeannie Buss is the other as the Los Angeles Lakers Executive V.P. of Business Affairs).

Raiders owner Al Davis has a history of overlooking factors such as race, gender and ethnicity, as long as it means success for his beloved franchise. Two-time Super Bowl winner, Tom Flores, was the league’s first coach of Spanish origin (hired in 1979), and Hall-of-Fame Lineman Art Shell was the league’s first African-American coach (hired in 1989).

“We’ve had an owner, that from the very get-go, has always had a vision and always wanted to be the first to do things, and to be the pioneer," Herrera said. “We are innovators, and we are the trend-setters in our respective industry and we continue to do so."

As one of the few sports franchises with a racially and gender diversified agenda, the Raiders are once again proving their “commitment to excellence." - Philippine News