Saturday, June 17, 2006  

From the twisted in translation files...

comes a several times told tale of what the Iranian president actually said about Israel. Since most Westerners can't read Farsi (and that would include me, unfortunately) and most Americans can't seem to learn anything in another language except "voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?" (I cannot tell you how many times someone has said that to me, usually prefaced with ,"oooh, ohhh, I know some French!" Half the time I have no idea what they are saying, and even if they did say that in English, the answer would probably be," oh, hell, no." If I had just a nickle for every time I have heard that (not in France or North Africa), I would not be driving the car I drive today. Really.)

So...a nos moutons...

This is the Farsi:

????? ??? ????? ????? ? ??????? ? ???????????? ?? ??? ?????? ??????? ? ?????????? ??? ????

???? ??? ??? ?????? ???? ??? ?? ??? ? ???? ???? ?? ????????? ?? ????? ???? ?? ??? ???? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ?? ???? ????? ???? ??? ?????? ??????? ???? ??????? ??????? ????? ????? ????? ? ?????? ?????? ?? ?? ??????? ? ??????? ??? ???? ????? ???? ??? ?? ??? ???? ??? ? ?? ????? ???? ????? ????? ????? ????? ?????? ? ????? ????? ?????. ?? ???? ???? ?? ?? ???? ???? ??? ?????? ???? ?????????. ??? ??? ???? ??? «???? ???? ????????» ???.
This is where you can find here...

And then there is The Guardian's take on the translation issue.

Bad translations are no joke.

Does anyone remember Carter's trip to Poland? His translator chose the incorrect Polish word for warm relations and ended up saying something like "carnal relations." Now that got the Poles a bit worked up because the last leader to feel that way about Poland was Hitler, and we all know how well that worked out.

Says Johnathan Steele of the Guardian:
Starting with Juan Cole, and going via the New York Times' experts through MEMRI to the BBC's monitors, the consensus is that Ahmadinejad did not talk about any maps. He was, as I insisted in my original piece, offering a vague wish for the future.

A very last point. The fact that he compared his desired option - the elimination of "the regime occupying Jerusalem" - with the fall of the Shah's regime in Iran makes it crystal clear that he is talking about regime change, not the end of Israel. As a schoolboy opponent of the Shah in the 1970's he surely did not favour Iran's removal from the page of time. He just wanted the Shah out.

The same with regard to Israel. The Iranian president is undeniably an opponent of Zionism or, if you prefer the phrase, the Zionist regime. But so are substantial numbers of Israeli citizens, Jews as well as Arabs. The anti-Zionist and non-Zionist traditions in Israel are not insignificant. So we should not demonise Ahmadinejad on those grounds alone.

Does this quibbling over phrases matter? Yes, of course. Within days of the Ahmadinejad speech the then Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, was calling for Iran to be expelled from the United Nations. Other foreign leaders have quoted the map phrase. The United States is piling pressure on its allies to be tough with Iran.

Let me give the last word to Juan Cole, with whom I began. "I am entirely aware that Ahmadinejad is hostile to Israel. The question is whether his intentions and capabilities would lead to a military attack, and whether therefore pre-emptive warfare is prescribed. I am saying no, and the boring philology is part of the reason for the no."
read the rest here

Now, back to the World Cup...

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