CAS Releases Update On Sun Yang Hearing, Translation Issues

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has released an update in the WADA v. Sun Yang & FINA case, marred by translation issues during the November 15 hearing.

The update is mostly procedural, but has two key pieces of information. (1) Both parties are preparing an “agreed-upon written transcript” of the hearing to make sure the process isn’t compromised by the translation issues, and (2) CAS doesn’t expect to issue a decision before mid-January of 2020.

The case involves Chinese distance swimmer Sun Yangwho challenged the authorization documents of doping control officers in a September 2018 out-of-competition test. FINA sought a ban on Sun, but a three-member independent FINA Doping Panel ruled in Sun’s favor. Reportedly “furious” over that ruling, WADA appealed to CAS, seeking a ban on Sun. We’ve covered the entire incident in much more detail, and you can catch up on all it below:

Sun requested that the CAS hearing be public – just the second public hearing in CAS history. The 11-hour hearing was live-streamed, and SwimSwam staff recapped all 11 hours of testimony live. You can read that full recap here.

One huge storyline from the hearing was difficulty in translation. Sun’s testimony – and that of most of his witnesses – was done in Chinese, but the hearing itself was held in English. CAS regulations allow a party to use a different language, but that party must pay for interpretation of that other language.

But the interpreters in this case took center stage all too often. Many Chinese- and English-speaking observers noted that the translation was not accurately relating Sun’s testimony. The translation time was also throwing a wrench into time limits on statements. Late in the hearing, as the translator struggled with Sun’s closing statement, Sun tried to call up a different translator, but was chastised by all parties, including his own lawyer, as the new translator hadn’t been cleared in advance.

Today’s CAS statement says that “some concerns were raised with respect to the quality of the interpretation of Mr. Yang’s testimony.” In order to make sure his testimony is clear, both parties are “preparing an agreed-upon written transcript of the proceedings,” which the CAS panel will use in making its final decision.

CAS also says that it likely won’t issue a decision before mid-January. You can read the full CAS statement here.

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Mr Piano
9 months ago

It’s inexcusable that all of this is taking place after worlds.

9 months ago

Uhh, ya think?

9 months ago

Is “hammer, blood, vial, and smash” that difficult to translate into Mandarin?

Benedict Arnold Schwarzenegger
Reply to  Scribble
9 months ago

I mean… SwimSwam has spent a year reporting all the context of this in English and English-speaking readers are still routinely getting the basic facts wrong when discussing it. So yeah, seems like it would be that much more difficult to translate into another language.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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