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Gained In Translation

Davids Medienkritik is calling shenanigans on a English to German translation of a SPIEGEL ONLINE interview with US Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes. Take this question, for example:

English (emphasis added):

SPIEGEL: Do you sometimes think that the Europeans are hypercritical with your friend, the president?

Hughes: I know him so well personally, that I sometimes am stunned by what I see as a caricature of him that has emerged in some press coverage. He's a very warm person, he's a very thoughtful person, he's a very decent person. He cares deeply about people, he's a wonderful leader. I think all of us should take a breath and be a little bit more charitable about how we view each other.
German (emphasis added):
SPIEGEL: Glauben Sie manchmal, dass die Europäer mit Ihrem Freund, dem Präsidenten, zu kritisch umspringen?

Hughes: Ich kenne ihn privat so gut, dass ich über sein Zerrbild in Teilen der Presse mitunter sehr erstaunt bin. Er ist warmherzig, nachdenklich und anständig. Die Menschen liegen ihm am Herzen, er ist ein wunderbarer Führer.
And that's just the start of it...

While Führer does mean "leader" in German, it's seldom used in the German press for reasons that should be obvious. Just to make sure you get their point they added another photo to the German version...


You know, in case you missed the reference in the text...


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» Public Diplomacy Watch linked with Carnival of German-American Relations

Comments (19)

Nope. No bias in the MSM he... (Below threshold)

Nope. No bias in the MSM here or over there. In fact, they are nothing more than a bunch of right wing stooges that do everything they can to cover up the blunders of Bush.

Well at least they didn't c... (Below threshold)

Well at least they didn't call him Kaiser.

Actually, calling him Kaise... (Below threshold)

Actually, calling him Kaiser would have been rather gentler. "Fuehrer" is just short of being a swear word.

Why would you ever intervie... (Below threshold)

Why would you ever interview someone about Bush who is paid by Bush to say nice things about Bush? What do they think they are getting from her? Rather silly premise.

Why would anyone ever read ... (Below threshold)

Why would anyone ever read a comment by jp2? What would they think they're getting? Rather silly premise.

Please note: Der Spiegel ca... (Below threshold)

Please note: Der Spiegel capitalized the "F" in Fuhrer as if it were a title or honorific. This is not simply a sloppy translation of "leader."

Proper nouns are capitalize... (Below threshold)

Proper nouns are capitalized auf Deutsch. Fuhrer means "leader". Ms. Hughes' and her obtuse appelation betrays the extra-constitional mindset of the executive branch drones. Too bad for her cant that German is a very exacting language. The Germans invented detergent, too.

Somehow, I can't help but ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Somehow, I can't help but feel a little schadenfreude about this former Bush spinmeister being a victim of such unfair media practices.

The Germans invented det... (Below threshold)

The Germans invented detergent, too.

And gas warfare. And high-efficiency, high-throughput crematoria.

Your point?

We are witnessing an Intern... (Below threshold)

We are witnessing an Internet first, I think - where the referenced article invokes Godwin's law, rather than the commentary.

her obtuse appelation be... (Below threshold)

her obtuse appelation betrays the extra-constitional mindset of the executive branch drones

Wow. I knew BDS produced paranoia that now exceeds the worst of the Clinon-era conspiracists, but now using the word "leader" (like, you know executive) is...er verbotten?

Or is bryan just going to issue a fatwa from the Left and demand that no complimentary adjectives about non-leftists can be used because he finds them offensive?

John in AA, I mean that the... (Below threshold)

John in AA, I mean that the German language is resistant to being larded over with superfluous or popular words and terms when already existing words or compounds of words will suffice. Thus when Bigfoot finds the title of President wanting and calls W Leader(?!) don't blame the Germans for choosing to translate instead of transliterate. Do you see the detergent effect? (That's a rhetorical question in case you're still confused.)________and now Darleen: 1) No, I'm rebutting what the blogger said was a verbotten term (fuhrer) that was dusted off especially for W when it was madam who made that necessary (and to humorous effect). Ex:leader > lieder= a song; leader > fuhrer = leader. 2)What is BDS? 3) How do I indent/make paragraphs on this @#$ thing?

Ah hah! Bush Derangement Sy... (Below threshold)

Ah hah! Bush Derangement Syndrom by Krauthammer(Oy Vay!) As long as I'm "otherwise normal,etc" MAY-BE. Just don't call me a Democrat until Roe v Wade is history, then it's up in the air.

Just don't call me a Dem... (Below threshold)

Just don't call me a Democrat until Roe v Wade is history

This is an interesting position. Given that RvW is something the Dems worship and will fight to the death to hold on to, that means that only the GOP will attempt to get rid of it. So in other words, when the GOP finally ousts RvW, you will then think about becoming a Democrat? That sounds kind of topsy-turvy, don't you think?

If R v W is overturned and ... (Below threshold)

If R v W is overturned and reverts back to the state legislatures as it should, I hope the new dialectic will boil down to nationalism v internationalism . Then there'll be a whole lotta shakin' goin' on politically! Whichever party addresses the borders, etc. with only peripheral issues distinguishing the parties otherwise, is the one for me: Dem, Rep, or 3rd party. And this administration has been ripping the constitution to shreads and the Christian Coalition types have been found to be no more than party hacks playing church. Goodwill is on Empty. Just ask the neo-cons: even now they're scrambling with name changes and alibi-cookin': at NRO they're floating "Crunchy Cons"(yes, that's as good as they can come up with. No wonder we're losing the war! These effete melvins could'nt punch there way out of a wet paper bag, yet they're the public instigators and half the "brains" of the war party! And Bush thinks they're just dandy!) Either W is a moron, corrupt or a workman for the New World Order his pop proclaimed. I only have eyes. What do I know?http://www.cfr.org/publication/7914/trinational_call_for_a_north_american_economic_and_security_community_by_2010.html

Oops that URL was too long.... (Below threshold)

Oops that URL was too long. This one concerns the same thing.http://www.ceocouncil.ca/en/north/north.php

This really has nothing to ... (Below threshold)

This really has nothing to do with translation and everything to do with propaganda (Goebbels would be proud) that is not really any different from what left leaning MSM magazines do here all the time. Its just that the English version was less slanted than the German one, most likely for business reasons (not wanting to alienate German or English readers, they pander to what they think their audience wants to hear). That's not journalism.

A quick spin through Spiege... (Below threshold)

A quick spin through Spiegel Online's search engine, and I find Nelson Mandela, Saddam Hussein, and Bill Clinton quoted or described as a Führer.

So I think this might be one of those times that the outrage isn't exactly warranted.

Proper nouns are c... (Below threshold)
Proper nouns are capitalized auf Deutsch.

On this at least, bryanD is correct. There's nothing special to read into that capital "F."






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