Thursday, May 20, 2010

Although It Affects Me Not At All, My Face Turns Red Reading This

Via Burro Hall, wow, this is really embarrassing:

In Spanish, Calderon's comments were straightforward and clear as he stood by President Barack Obama on the South Lawn and spoke to the common values and principles that unite the U.S. and Mexico.

But the English translation that American viewers heard was so bad that the official White House transcript ignored it. Instead the White House used a translation provided by the Mexican Embassy and it was markedly different from the words actually spoken by the translator as Calderon talked.

For example, here's how Calderon's comments on the tough new immigration law in Arizona were rendered by his translator during the opening ceremony:

"We can do so with a community that will promote a dignified life and an orderly way for both our countries, who are, some of them, still living here in the shadows with such laws as the Arizona law that is placing our people to face discrimination."

And here's how those same comments appeared in the official transcript issued later Wednesday:

"I know that we share the interest in promoting dignified, legal and orderly living conditions to all migrant workers. Many of them, despite their significant contribution to the economy and to the society of the United States, still live in the shadows and, occasionally, as in Arizona, they even face discrimination."

It's worth pointing out that there is no shortage of fluent English speakers in Mexico, not least Calderón himself. Although, even as a native English speaker, I imagine that were I forced to do a simultaneous translation, my performance would be similarly stumbling.

1 comment:

pmarino said...

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