DUBLIN – After 14 years of translating linguistics olympiads into as many languages as requested by participants, the IOL problem committee has announced their decision to get rid of the pesky translation thing once and for all. “In 2003, we only had 6 countries to think about and most of them already had representatives in the jury anyway so it wasn’t that big of a deal. But recently, with 30 countries participating every year, and with multiple languages per country (I mean, Bengali? Really?), we’re really starting to run thin. Some guy from the UK asked us to write it in Basque. I mean, for God’s sake, who can be fucked to do that,” Boris Iomdin told the press in a public statement, admitting that they tried to get Ivan Derzhanski to translate the papers, but on further inspection, they realised that in each of the languages he had translated, he had replaced the traditional 5 problem format with a single problem consisting of a list of chess variants translated into Burushaski that the contestants were expected to spend all 6 hours solving.
“This way, all competitors are equally disadvantaged to begin with, making it a much more even playing field.” – Gabrijela Hladnik
At a rare media appearance, Bozhidar Bozhanov confirmed that the problem committee had decided to avoid the issue altogether by forcing all 160+ contestants in Dublin to learn Esperanto to a sufficiently high level that they would be able not only to understand complex linguistics problems but also write concise explanations in the language. “We decided not to use a language that people already spoke because it would have to be English and we didn’t want to give the Americans any more reason to feel smug,” said Gabrijela Hladnik, “This way, all competitors are equally disadvantaged to begin with, making it a much more even playing field.”
Other universal languages were suggested by other members of the committee (Ksenia Gilyarova was a keen advocate for Transcendental Algebra, while Ivan Derzhanski argued for Lojban), but eventually, Esperanto won out as it most closely fit the IOL’s Eurocentric history. “It’s traditional,” said Stanislav Gurevich, “Everyone knows we only let countries outside of Europe take part so we have an excuse to visit their countries without feeling like tourists. In many ways, we’re more European than Eurovision at this point.” In addition to the papers being written in Esperanto, all lectures will be held in the language, and communication between contestants will be regulated in an attempt to rid the competition of its outdated reliance on the English language, instead opting for general misunderstanding and widespread miscommunication. As Bozhanov put it, “It’s a small price to pay for the huge satisfaction we’ll get from watching the English-speaking teams struggling to communicate in a language they aren’t fluent in.”