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Off topic: Article: Lost in Translation (Guardian UK)
Thread poster: Elliot Everett

Elliot Everett  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:46
Spanish to English
Apr 9, 2008

This is surely off-topic for this forum as it is by no means "light", but I couldn't find a more appropriate location to post it. My apologies in advance.

Published in the Guardian UK in June 2006, the article "Lost in Translation" by Jonathan Steele discusses Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's infamous "wiped of the map" possible misquotation and how in this case, mistranslations are used for political ends.

Would any translator with a knowledge of Farsi care to comment? My intention is not to start a flame war, but rather to better understand the situation.


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xxxPeter Manda
Local time: 09:46
German to English
+ ...
Apr 9, 2008

Causing war on the basis of political preference in translation is no joke ...

[Edited at 2008-04-10 01:02]

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Atena Hensch  Identity Verified
New Zealand
Local time: 02:46
English to Farsi (Persian)
+ ...
??? Apr 10, 2008

So what did Ahmadinejad actually say? To quote his exact words in farsi:
"Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad."

That passage will mean nothing to most people, but one word might ring a bell: rezhim-e. It is the word "Regime", pronounced just like the English word with an extra "eh" sound at the end. Ahmadinejad did not refer to Israel the country or Israel the land mass, but the Israeli regime. This is a vastly significant distinction, as one cannot wipe a regime off the map. Ahmadinejad does not even refer to Israel by name, he instead uses the specific phrase "rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods" (regime occupying Jerusalem).

So this raises the question.. what exactly did he want "wiped from the map"? The answer is: nothing. That's because the word "map" was never used. The Persian word for map, "nagsheh", is not contained anywhere in his original farsi quote, or, for that matter, anywhere in his entire speech. Nor was the western phrase "wipe out" ever said. Yet we are led to believe that Iran's President threatened to "wipe Israel off the map", despite never having uttered the words "map", "wipe out" or even "Israel".

Please refer here:

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Article: Lost in Translation (Guardian UK)

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