Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Not a good day for interpretation

President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton had their little issues with interpreters yesterday in Mexico and Congo, respectively.

At a press conference, Obama didn't get the interpretation to a question by a Mexican journalist. Apparently it was a malfunction of the wireless equipment. However, Obama's reaction was gracious: "Perdóneme, I didn't get a translation on that one," Mr. Obama said to a room full of laughs. "It sounded like a very good question."

In Kinshasa, Hillary Clinton responded angrily to a question posed by a student at the local University. According to CNN, the student asked Clinton what President Obama would think of a deal between China and Congo, but pool reporters in the room said the interpreter made a mistake, posing the question as what would Bill Clinton think.

Clinton looked surprised when she first heard the translation in the headset, and then sharply replied, "You want me to tell you what my husband thinks? My husband is not the secretary of state, I am. You ask my opinion. I will tell you my opinion; I'm not going to channel my husband."

As I have mentioned previously in this blog, this is confirmation that only bad translations make the news. When was the last time you saw a story about a good translation? Did you ever? If so, please share.

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