Monday, November 18, 2013

When the translator has more sense than the politicians

A United Nations interpreter translating the proceedings of the General Assembly on Thursday was caught – not realizing her microphone was still piping her voice into the chamber – expressing her dismay that the world body is so focused on condemning Israel while ignoring every other country in the world.

Following votes at the General Assembly’s Fourth Committee which includes all 193 UN member states, nine resolutions were adopted condemning Israel. Not one resolution was adopted targeting any other country, not even Syria where more than 100,000 have been killed in just two-and-a-half years.

The unnamed interpreter, unaware she was still being heard both by delegates and online via a live webcast, said, “I mean, I think when you have five statements, not five, like a total of ten resolutions on Israel and Palestine, there’s gotta be something, c’est un peu trop, non? [It’s a bit much, no?] I mean I know… There’s other really bad sh** happening, but no one says anything, about the other stuff.”

After the translator spoke, the delegate chairing the meeting could be seen trying to suppress his laughter. This as other delegates laughed audibly after hearing the interpreter’s candid opinion about their work, including her use of an expletive.

Once she realized what was happening, the translator said, “apologies” after which the Secretary of the meeting commented, “I understand there was a problem with interpretation?”  The translator could then be heard saying “The interpreter apologizes.”

UN Watch, a non-governmental organization which monitors events at the United Nations, first caught the gaffe and posted a recording of it on YouTube.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday played the clip of the interpreter’s candid assessment at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. Should her job be threatened, Netanyahu said she would have a place to work in Israel, Ynet reported.

“I would like to tell this translator that she has a job waiting for her in the State of Israel. There are moments that tear the hypocrisy off the unending attacks against us and this brave translator did so,” he said according to a translation of the text posted by the Prime Minister’s Office website.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

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