Trump- A problem in the world of interpretation


07 Jun 2017

Trump's incoherent speeches: A nightmare for translators

With Trump as the President, a serious problem has arisen: How to translate Trump?

Dealing with Trump-isms is a problem being faced by interpreters around the world.

His speech, lacking in syntax, a repetition of words like 'big', 'great', 'beautiful' is hard to translate as they essentially mean the same.

However, most agree that the biggest problem is 'absence of logic'.

Trump's 'lexical richness' lower than all former US Presidents

If research by Carnegie Mellon University's Language technologies Institute is to be believed then President Trump's "lexical richness" is the lowest in comparison to any other US president. The difference is stark when compared to his predecessor whose language was that of grace and style.

Language of the lewd

Trumps profanity towards woman becomes a problem at translation levels

Trumps profanity towards woman becomes a problem at translation levels

Trump's use of lewd language when addressing women too has given translators nightmares.

Trump's 'locker talk' when interpreted by the Chinese, Hispanic translators only made it sound even more offensive.

Yet, a lot of translators assert that they often evade Trump's vulgar language either because "they have no choice or to get around internal censors."

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09 May 2017

Trump fires FBI's Comey, creates serious difficulties for interpreters

Trump called Comey a 'nutjob' and the Japanese interpreters settled for 'henjin' - meaning an oddball or eccentric whereas the translation should have been atama ga warui (stupid) which they thought was inappropriate for someone of Comey's stature.

Siavash Ardalan, a Persian translator too said it was difficult to translate: "He's a showboat. He's a grandstander" for the Farsi-speaking people.

India fares no better

Indian media at wits end with Trump too

Indian media at wits end with Trump too

In India, translating Trump is not easy either.

The jumps in his speeches are hard to translate hence most write-ups and broadcasts use simple soundbites.

Anshuman Tiwari, editor of IndiaToday, a Hindi magazine said he avoided quoting Trump directly. Most of his speeches are paraphrased.

For newspapers like Dainik Bhaskar, which don't use grandiose words it's hard as Trump repeats himself.

Trump-Modi connection: Can one's speech be replaced for the other?

Interestingly, Trump's speeches are very similar in style to that of PM Modi. They both highlight the "greatness of the nation and national pride" and if you take Trump's speech and put Modi's face, they might be saying the same things.

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