We Americans don’t have to deal with translators very often. Most everything we see is already in English and more often than not, when something isn’t in English, we just don’t pay it much attention. For the rest of the world, however, they are relegated to have many of our words heard not by the person who spoke them, but through a translator. That fact has become an increasing challenge now that Donald Trump is President.
That challenge can sometimes be hilarious or frightening, depending on the moment and the words spoken.
The Daily Show did a segment highlighting five translators who do Trump translations for foreign audiences. What these translators revealed was quite eye opening even beyond the funny stuff. For example, host Trevor Noah pointed out the comments that Trump made after meeting the French President’s wife just the other day. Trump was, as Noah put it, basically hitting on her when he commented on how good she looked and that “she is in such good shape.” (See video below …)
One translation might equate to “you look well.” Another might translate it as “yo, my dude wants to smash!”
In the segment by Desi Lydic, she starts off by asking the Trump translators how they would rate Trump’s speaking abilities. The ones from Japan, Syria, Mexico, and sign language had comments like “the worst” and “incoherent.” Only the Russian translator found him to be “not particularly difficult.”
Of course, he did.
The Syrian translator, who does Arabic translations, admitted for some things, he just has to make things up as some things that Trump says just don’t exist in their language. The same problem occurs with the Japanese translator. For example, she has no equivalent to saying “grab em by the pu$$y” in Japanese. The translator had to use “I can do anything.” Lydic searched with the translator for some “alternate words” by showing her some different objects to find out if there was a good word to use vs pu$$y. They tried a cat, a taco, and some “beef curtains” in seeking an alternative.
The other problem the translators have is that they often speak in plain, monotone speech patterns — lacking the emotions behind Trump’s words. Lydic gave each an intensive seven-minute training course to inject the vitriol and other emotions in Trump’s voice when he speaks phrases like “Mexico WILL pay for the wall” and “Grab em by the beef curtains!”
The one translator who did seem to “get it” without training was the sign language interpreter who has Trump’s mannerisms and rage down pat. As she put it, “for that moment, I am Trump.”
This is just a tease. Check out Desi Lydic and her full hilarious segment below:
On one hand, how these translators are forced to deal with Trump’s lack of cohesion and the way they have to think on the fly as he randomly goes from one thing to the next, often changing course mid-sentence is hilarious. On a darker note, the polite and often monotone ways they actually speak the words probably give many foreigners a very wrong impression of what Trump says and what he means when he speaks.
Featured image via screen capture from youtube.com