February 03, 2003

Lost In The Translation It's

Lost In The Translation

It's a considerable trick to view Arabic Web pages in English. Give the huge amount of media play the Qatar-based al Jazeera television network gets, I was curious to see if they had a Web page. They do, but it's entirely in Arabic, and I was surprised at how surprised I was to learn this. Duh, Ryan. Duh.

But, I was determined to view the stupid page in English, so I sought a translation engine, which works fairly well, I suppose, although I guess it could be totally lying to me. I mean, really, I have no idea if it's genuinely translating anything or just giving me a whole bunch of false crap. Regardless, I'm taking the translation as legitimate.

Topping the al Jazeera headlines today is Russian stance toward Iraq retreated. ElBaradei: World's patience about to run out on Iraq

Russian stance retreated? I can see that from the French, maybe, but certainly not the Russians. Obviously, this is simply a matter of translation, but it gets oh so much better.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director general Mohamed ElBaradei said the would began losing patience toward Iraq, and Baghdad has to present more cooperation with the UN weapons inspectors.

And added, the all agrees that Iraq has to show more cooperation, indicating that he and Hans Blix, chief of United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, would convey this message to Iraqis at their arrival the Iraqi capital next Saturday. ElBaradei added "We expect a relief in chemical and biological weapons and missiles. We may not accomplish the mission completely early next week, but we hope to achieve a relief"

Got that? Clear as mud? Good. I think it would be fun to try going through my day talking with people as if I were translating myself from Arabic. "Good morning," would become, "The day's beginning, the time when sun starts on horizon, is a decent one."

On his part, British Prime Minister Tony Blair confirmed that the proofs indicating that Iraq falls behind cooperating with the UN weapons inspectors are "no smoking", and said the operation of disarming the Iraqi nontraditional weapons hits its final stage.

The proofs are no smoking? Ooooookaaaayyy. I like the line, "nontraditional weapons." And here we've been foolishly calling them "weapons of mass destruction." They're not weapons of mass destruction, they're simply non-traditional. They eschew the traditional killing power of other weapons.

British Prime Minister considered that Iraq failed in cooperating completely with the inspectors, "and was and still in a material breach". According to Blair, Baghdad did not answer the questions on the destiny of thousands of weapons and missile warheads that were supposedly declared, in addition to secret documents, which were discovered at an Iraqi scientist's home.

The destiny of weapons and missile warheads? I know, I know. This is all just a silly case of poor translation, but that still strikes me as damned funny. I keep thinking about the movie "Back to the Future" when Marty's dad, as a teenager, tries to woo his future wife with the line, "I am your density." Was he speaking Arabic?

Maybe someday I'll get to reading the riveting al Jazeera article: Blair and Bush Discussed the Second Resolution Form, the War Plan Details They're not known for crisp, concise headlines over there at al Jazeera.

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