comScore Interpreters Say They’re Vexed by ‘Trumpese’: If We Translated Trump Verbatim, ‘We Would…Sound Stupid’ | Mediaite

Interpreters Say They’re Vexed by ‘Trumpese’: If We Translated Trump Verbatim, ‘We Would…Sound Stupid’


The language used by President Donald Trump has flummoxed people who work with words for a living. Previously, we posted about a New Yorker copy editor who penciled through a Trump speech and barely left even a single word untouched. Some interpreters, it seems, are also vexed by the president’s words — with one hesitant to translate him verbatim out of fear that she will sound foolish.

“He is so overconfident and yet so logically unconvincing that my interpreter friends and I often joke that if we translated his words as they are, we would end up making ourselves sound stupid,” said Chikako Tsuruta — an interpreter for CNN, ABC, and CBS — in an interview with the Japan Times.

But one retired interpreter has no sympathy for Tsuruta and others charged with translating the President. Kumiko Torikai, a professor emeritus at Rikkyo University in Tokyo, believes that it’s not proper for Tsuruta, or any other interpreter, to alter translations just because they fear they will come off unintelligent.

“If Trump is not making sense, you don’t get to make sense, either,” Torikai said. “If his language is coarse, that’s the way you translate him,”

Torikai actually quit translating in 1986 because she did not want to speak words that she found objectionable.

“As an interpreter, your job is to translate the words of a speaker exactly as they are, no matter how heinous and what an outrageous liar you find the speaker to be,” Torikai said. “You set aside all your personal emotions and become the speaker yourself. It’s a really tough thing, not being allowed to demonstrate your own judgment about what is right and what is wrong. And that’s why I quit.”

Read the full piece here, via the Japan Times.

[image via screengrab]


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