The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) was responsible for the planning, development and delivery of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games – which has been widely applauded as the greatest Games ever delivered.

The Games attracted more than 10,000 athletes from 205 nations around the world to compete in more than 300 different world-class sporting events. Watched by more than 4 billion people around the globe, the hugely successful games also attracted 680,000 visitors from overseas.


The Challenge

With 10,000 overseas athletes and 680,000 visitors from other nations, LOCOG’s team of 200,000 volunteers and staff had to be able to help and support hundreds of people who were unable to speak English.

Clear communication was crucial to the efficient running of the Games and LOCOG recruited a team of professional linguists and language volunteers to position at key venues during the Games.
However, not all languages could be covered and LOCOG also had no way of assessing the abilities of each interpreter and then providing them with the skills they would need to help visitors and athletes.


The Solution

LOCOG had high demands. It needed a partner that could provide innovative solutions to fill interpretation gaps around rarer languages, deliver training and assessment, meet the high standards associated with the Olympic brand and, most importantly, deliver the solutions within strict deadlines – all within a four month window.

It was a tall order and the only company that could meet all of those demands and be available 24-hours a day was thebigword.
With big demands for scalability, availability and top quality service, thebigword was able to provide instant access to interpreters over the phone through its Automated Telephone Interpreting Service, and allow the Olympic team to get access to an expert linguist in 270 different languages in under 30 seconds.

Crucially, thebigword was also able to quickly deliver bespoke training and assessment programmes to ensure that LOCOG had the right linguists in place ahead of the Games.

Under the programme, more than 300 people were provided with in-depth training to equip them with the skills they needed to help deliver the Games. Key elements ranged from translated glossaries
of Olympic terms through to understanding the locations of key venues.

The programme was delivered in person, and online, to guarantee everyone involved in the Games had the training they needed and then each interpreter was tested to ensure they met the high standards associated with the Olympic brand.

A spokesperson for LOCOG said: “The end result was superb. In an international and multilingual environment such as a major sporting event, the top priority is to meet the needs of the world’s most demanding client groups: athletes, members of the media, and officials.”


“thebigword delivery of the service was flawless. This is a testament to its ability to meet the needs of clients and business partners by developing excellent relationships with them.”

LOCOG Spokesperson