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At Accutranslate we’ve never had this problem, but we’ve also never interpreted for the US Government…. What happens when the most powerful man in the world doesn’t like your translation?

Recently President Hollande of France was in the US for bilateral talks with President Obama. Sharp observers have noticed that 2 lines of the French President’s words were removed from the White House’s transcript, and from the simultaneous interpretation of the event.  Both are reproduced below – French speakers will be able to hear François Hollande intone the words just after the ones which went missing on tape and on paper:

But we’re also well aware that the roots of terrorism, Islamist terrorism, is in Syria and in Iraq. We therefore have to act both in Syria and in Iraq, and this is what we’re doing within the framework of the coalition.

President Obama is always careful not to link the words “Islam” and “Terrorism”; he uses “Jihadist” or “Islamist” to refer to terrorists, in order to make the distinction between the religion and its extremists.

We’re unable to hear the French president’s words as the interpreter is speaking over him, so it’s possible that he slipped and used the politically-incorrect term. But it’s also possible that the interpreter, not understanding the delicate line to tread in being politically correct at the White House, used the wrong words and her interpreting had to be erased.

Have a listen for yourself – the tape is below and the translation is cut between 4:50 and 5:05

It’s not easy being an interpreter – rather than the conspiracy theories being bandied about, perhaps it’s just someone doing their best, but not understanding the nuances used in the White House.

Having heard the tape, what do you think?