Iranian Interpreter Omits Parts Of Trump UN Speech
As Donald Trump addressed the United Nations General Assembly for the first time there was anticipation the world over about the topics he would choose to talk about. In his wide ranging speech Trump discussed how he would always ‘put America first’ as all leaders should choose to put their country ahead of other matters, spoke of how North Korea could be totally destroyed if it continued its path towards its nuclear ambitions, and also criticised Iran as a rogue state. The importance of a thorough and accurate interpreting service was evident however, as on Iranian television at the time of Trump’s address, the state Broadcaster IRINN omitted large parts of the speech, softening the rhetoric of President Trump significantly.
The full speech was broadcast on live television and left unedited, but at the same time a Persian translation was being broadcast alongside it, with the interpreter, Nima Chitsaz, coming out to defend his actions after coming under attack on social media for the omissions.
A selection of the translations can be seen below, with Trump going in heavy against the current Iranian way of life at times:
Trump: "The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran's people are what their leaders fear most."
Translation: The US military is strong. The people of Iran are also strong.
Trump: “This is what causes the regime to restrict Internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protestors, and imprison political reformers."
Translation: There are so many things happening in Iran that we consider to be unacceptable.
The translator defended his decision to omit certain sections of Trump’s speech as a way of defending his country against some of the accusations made by the President of the United States of America during his maiden UN General Assembly speech. Mr Chitsaz said ‘First, these remarks were untrue. Second, they were against my country and they were against Iran. I think if it was anybody else, they would have done the same.’ He went on to claim that, as he was on air at the exact same time as Trump, it would be clear what was actually being said, leaving him free to not criticise his own country, live on national television.
Critics of the actions have stated that they believe an interpreter should just translate what is said in front of them, in order to provide an accurate representation of what was said. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the words being spoken are believed by the person translating, and so would not have been taken by those watching in Iran as the views of Mr Chitsaz.
The importance of language should never be underestimated, and with attempts across the globe to promote all languages, the importance of solid and accurate translation and interpreting services has never been more in need. The power of the nuance of language was definitely on show in Iran in this case, with the power and message of President Trump’s words being lost in translation, or omitted entirely.
Content written by Charlotte Pickering
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