02 March 2007

Lost in Translation

The article by Ami Isseroff is copied in its entirety from here.

Earlier, we posted a PMW expose that described differences between Arabic news stories of the Palestinian Maan news service, and their supposed translation into English.

Some examples:

Ma'an English: "…in the southern Israeli resort of Eilat."
Ma'an Arabic in first reference: "… in Eilat located in the south of occupied Palestine."
Ma'an Arabic in second reference: "…carried out a brave deed and for the first time in occupied Eilat.”

In the English the mother is referred to simply by her name and age: "Ruwaida Siksik, 42."

In Arabic Ma'an adds: " Ruwaida Siksik, 42, whose family originated from the occupied city of Jaffa."

In English: The mother prayed that it may send a message to the fighting brothers in Hamas and Fatah, to stop and direct their weapons against the Israeli occupation.

In Arabic: the mother prayed that Allah will receive her son as a Shahid…

What did the mother really say? Who knows? The indirect quotes change, and the facts change too. Maan replies below that news must be written differently for Arabic speaking and English speaking audiences. Inventing quotes is part of professional journalism according to them, and they are proud of it, because, as they insist:
Our objective has been set from the very beginning: to be a credible, professional and high quality news agency.
Praise be to Allah. Perhaps a new school of linguistics should be opened in order to train people in this needed skill, according to a new lexicon.

In English:
"Palestinians want peace with Israel"
In Arabic:
"Death to the Zionist entity."

In English:
"Peace treaty"
In Arabic:
"Worthless document signed with Jewish sons of apes and dogs."

In English:
"We are pleased to cooperate with our honored European patrons."
In Arabic:
"May Allah rot the bones of the foreign infidel sons of pigs, but may he give us their money first."

Maan notes:
Ma'an's editor-in-chief, Nasser Al-Lahham... ascribed the reason for the
difference between the Arabic and the English versions as being merely
professional rather than political.

Our national identity is well-known and publicly declared because we are
proud of that identity and we never conceal it.
And the Europeans of course fund this "professional" lying. One wonders what the European donors have to say about all this, since according to Maan, they can certainly read the original Arabic.