Joe Rush lives in Kobe city in Japan and found himself interpreting for the All Blacks at the World Cup.

"I never even dreamed I would have the chance to interpret for the All Blacks.

"That was huge for me."

He said one of his main roles at the World Cup was to interpret at the daily press conferences.


Outside of those press conferences, Rush helped the team communicate with hotel staff or research places to eat out.

Rush is back in Palmerston North for the next month as the Japanese Top League competition was cancelled mid-season.

"My team the Kobelco Steelers won't be assembling for the new season until September at this stage."

His main role is in a team that puts together contracts for the foreign players who come to play for the Steelers.

He does the interpreting for team meetings and interpreter training for the youngest interpreter, who Rush says has a "heap of potential".

Rush is in a team of three translators and they try to split the work evenly which is focused on outdoor training content and gym sessions.

He says on game day his role is water boy but he also gets the message from the coaches to the players on the field in Japanese and English.

Kobe city is close to Osaka which, Rush says, shares some similarities with Wellington.


"There are mountains right behind the city.

"I live in a place called Rokko Island which is one of several man-made islands constructed in the 80s and 90s when the city was expanding."

On the family's return to Kobe, Rush will first settle his kids back into school.

"Hopefully things have settled down by then.

"Japan has lifted the state of emergency in Kobe, but at the moment there is only a gradual return to schooling.

"At my daughter's school they have alternating days with boys one day and girls another to keep the classroom numbers at a minimum."

Once the family is settled Rush will return to his job with the Steelers.

"The next top League season will be kicking off in January 2021 so most teams will probably be back in from some time between August and September.

"There is months of work that goes into all of this, with of course field training and team prep."

While in Palmerston North, Rush has been teaching online Introduction to Sports Interpreting for IPU New Zealand students

He says this is important for him to give back to IPU because it was where he learned to be an interpreter.

He explained the month-long course taught what an interpreter does and does not do.

"We then moved into what the job is actually about, the nuts and bolts of how an interpreter fits into a high-performance environment.

"Then on to the major types of interpreting I use, how to do them, and which can be used in different situations.

"Then finally, heaps of practice.

"The more you do it the better you get."

Rush said when he first started at IPU as a student out of high school, he had no idea other than to do something international.

"Moving from high school to university level study is always going to be a big step for anyone so I went in with an open mind.

"The campus was so international as there were students from a lot of different countries and cultures.

"I can't count the number of times the cultural understanding I picked at IPU has helped in my work."

He said the three years at IPU gave him the skills to succeed, especially the research and study skills papers.

"There is always a lot of research to do so helps to have a good grounding in that.

"I chose to become an interpreter because I wanted to make a difference and to help people."