Being president comes with a lot of responsibilities, one of them being constant communication with other countries’ leaders and occasional speeches to their people. These speeches are very often memorable, yet sometimes not for good reasons. Here are 3 cases where professional translations failed US presidents, causing great embarrassment to them and the US and showing why choosing professional translation services is absolutely essential.
President Carter’s Professional Translations Mistake In Poland
One of the most famous cases where a professional translation service failed a president was in 1977 when President Jimmy Carter traveled to Poland for a news conference. At this conference, the Polish crowd thought that President Carter expressed his sexual desire for Poland, which of course was not what he intended for the Polish audience to hear. What happened was that President Carter’s translator used Russian terms when attempting to interpret in Polish, which led to the audience believing that President Carter harbored erotic thoughts for Poland. At this same event, Carter’s interpreting service failed yet again and interpreted President Carter’s sentence “I left the United states this morning” into “I left the United states, never to return.” Of course, this was, once again, not his intended message.
President Carter’s Professional Translations Mistake In Japan
Another case where poor President Jimmy Carter was disappointed yet again by his national interpreting service was in 1981 when he visited a small Methodist college in the Japanese countryside. President Carter was simply telling a story and then the audience burst into laughter. Confused, Carter turned to his interpreter and they revealed that they didn’t interpret his speech correctly and told the audience to simply laugh at the funny story President Carter told, thus demonstrating the value of professional interpreting services.
President Truman And Japanese Professional Translations
This case is perhaps the most infamous professional translation mistake in history. When the Allies were close to victory in World War II, the United States sent Japan terms for their surrender in an attempt to end the global conflict. When the press inquired Japanese Premier, Kantaro Suzuk, about the terms, Suzuk responded with the Japanese word “Mokusatsu.”
Improper Japanese translation arguably sparked the US’ vicious next move. There are two meanings behind this word, the first being “no comment/withholding comment,” and the second being “a treat with silent contempt.” International news agencies decided to use the word’s second meaning, which was perceived as a threat by the Americans and led to the decision to drop the atomic bomb.
True Professional Translations Are Essential
Many presidents have utilized interpreting, translation, and localization services and not all of them were failures. For example, the United States’ first President George Washington often had a translator by his side to interpret for members of the French and Dutch communities during the 18th century. Professional translations have been a need for centuries, and they are very often the hidden factor behind many of the most pivotal moments in history. However, one must invest in the best translation services. Luckily, Language Connections has a global network of industry expert translators and interpreters in 200+ languages to ensure that nothing is lost in translation.
About Language Connections:
Language Connections is one of the top language service companies in the US. Over the last 30 years, we’ve focused on providing the best business translation services, interpreting services, as well as interpreter training and customized language training programs. In addition to top-tier corporate language training, we offer certified corporate interpreters and professional business translation services in 200+ languages. Our network includes linguists with backgrounds in all major industries. They’re ready to meet your needs, whether they’re for technical translation services, legal translation, government translation services, international development translation services, education translation services, life sciences translation, or something else. Reach out to us today for a free quote on our cost-efficient and timely translation services, interpreters, or other linguistic services.
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